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Masai giraffe gives birth at Santa Barbara Zoo

New giraffe calf.jpeg
Posted at 5:07 PM, Mar 27, 2020

UPDATE (Sat. March 28th) - Masai giraffe Adia gave birth to her first calf, a male measuring 6 feet tall and weighing in at 125.5 pounds.

The baby giraffe has been named Twiga (pronounced TWEE-gah), which means ‘giraffe’ in Swahili.

Even though the zoo is closed, you can still check out the animals and get updates by visiting their social media.

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ORIGINAL STORY (Fri. March 27th) - The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed a new addition Friday.

Five-year-old Masai giraffe Adia gave birth to her first calf at 12:26 p.m.

The zoo says they both appear to be doing well and are residing for the time being behind the scenes in the giraffe barn.

More details about the calf, including its sex, height, weight and even name, will determined at its first medical exam this weekend.

"This birth is special in so many ways," said Dr. Julie Barnes, the zoo's vice president of animal care and health, in a press release. "It's always a joy to see a new life begin, but we think it's especially meaningful right now as a beacon of hope and good news during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masai giraffes are listed as endangered due to the significant decline of this species in the wild in recent decades. The population under human care here in the U.S. is relatively small, and the Species Survival Plan manages the population to ensure that genetic diversity is maintained so that the population thrives, and each giraffe born at the Zoo is very important to this population and conservation of this species."

This is the eighth calf for father Michael, who the zoo says is the "most genetically important male Masai giraffe in North America, as he is only related to his offspring."

He is one of five giraffes now at the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Another giraffe, Amirah, was recently scheduled to leave for the Sacramento Zoo as part of the AZA breeding program, but that was delayed due to weather and coronavirus concerns, according to the zoo.