Audubon Nature Institute welcomes baby giraffe, names her 'Hope' amid pandemic
NEW ORLEANS — The Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans is welcoming its newest resident, a baby giraffe named Hope.
A middle-aged giraffe named Sue Ellen gave birth Monday at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, according to a Friday news release.
The New Orleans Institute's newest addition weighed approximately 189 pounds when she arrived early April 6, according to officials.
Because the gestation period of a giraffe is 14-16 months, the staff was unsure when exactly Sue Ellen, Hope's mother, would give birth.
"So far, the little baby is doing really fantastic. It is up walking around, it has been nursing from its mom, its doing everything that a baby giraffe needs to do," curator Michelle Hatwood said.
Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman said Hope was the perfect name for the calf, especially as New Orleans has been hit hard in the COVID-19 outbreak.
“What name could be more fitting than ’Hope” in these challenging times?” Forman said. “Hope is what has sustained our community through seemingly insurmountable crises in the past and what we must hold onto as we continue on in the coming days and weeks. May we all take comfort in the reminder that, even in the darkest of days, life continues, undaunted.”
The center is now home to 13 giraffes. The new calf was the eighth giraffe born at the center as part of the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife conservation breeding partnership with San Diego Zoo Global.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the Audubon Nature Institue has been forced to close its facilities to the public. It is now asking for federal assistance in providing funds to large nonprofits like zoos and aquariums.
You can learn more about Hope and the other animals at the institute here.
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