Zora the giraffe munched on a bucket of alfalfa on Thursday morning before strolling to the edge of the enclosure to get a better look at the cameras and zoo personnel that had gathered in the giraffe barn.
All the fuss and excitement was for her. An 8-year-old giraffe is pregnant with her first calf.
Zora’s calf is due in mid-March and will be the 29th giraffe born at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium since 1979.
“There are about 400 giraffes in the United States, and about 38 giraffes are born each year,” said Jason Herrick, the zoo’s vice president of conservation and animal health. “Omaha has been a big part of that.” rice field.”
Birth is important to zoos and to the overall survival of a species.
“Wild giraffes are not very energetic,” Herrick said.
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Conservationists have seen a 40% decline in giraffe populations since the 1980s, and vulnerable species have gone extinct in seven African countries.
Zora’s calf will be the zoo’s first calf since July 2021 when a male calf named Arthur was born.
This calf will be the sixth offspring of Jawara, a male giraffe. The 14-year-old was born at the Brookfield Zoo in Brookfield, Illinois and moved to Omaha in 2010.
Zora arrived from the Great Plains Zoo in South Dakota in 2015.
Taylor Rowe, the zoo’s chief veterinarian, said the first-time mother is doing well.
“Keepers are here every day to observe and check on weight and appetite,” Law said. “There were no worries. With every birth, we always watch her first-time mother very closely.”
Law says it’s difficult for veterinarians to determine the sex of such large mammals before birth.
When born, the calves will be about 6 feet 150 pounds.
Babies and mothers are gradually introduced back into the herd, returning to a community of seven females and two males.