Audubon Zoo welcomes baby giraffe
NEW ORLEANS- The Audubon Nature Institute has welcomed a baby giraffe to the zoo.
The six-foot-tall reticulated male giraffe calf weighed in at 150 pounds when he was born Jan. 9 at the West Bank campus of the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Survival Center.
The giraffe's mother, 13-year-old Tumaini, was in labor for four hours, according to a release. Because many animals give birth in the middle of the night, Michelle Hatwood, Curator of the Species Survival Center, said that it was a rare treat for animal staff to witness the breathtaking event.
“Giraffe give birth standing up and the calf falls about six feet to the ground,’’ she said. "The fall not only breaks the umbilicus, it also gives the calf a jolt to start breathing and moving – kind of like when a doctor spanks a human baby after being born.’’
According to the zoo, the giraffe species is considered “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The population declined about 40 percent in the last three decades and the numbers are expected to continue to dwindle.
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