Impending calf births will be the first since 1999.
The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium marked World Giraffe Day in a big way: Two giraffe births—the zoo’s first in almost 20 years—are expected in the next several months.
The zoo announced the news the morning of June 21 on Facebook Live. Two Masai giraffes, Zuri, 8, and Cami, 6, are expected to give birth in late August to mid-September and late September to mid-October, respectively. The last giraffe born at the zoo arrived in 1999. The calves’ gender is not known.
According to the zoo, Zuri came to Columbus from The Wilds in 2013. She was born at the Ellen Trout Zoo in Lufkin, Texas. Cami moved to Columbus in 2013 from the Nashville Zoo. The father of both calves, Enzi, is 8 years old and arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2013 from The Wilds; he was born at the Toledo Zoo. His pairing with the females was based on a breeding recommendation from The Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for giraffes.
Since it opened, 19 giraffes have been born at the Columbus Zoo, which currently has 15 giraffes from the Masai and reticulated species in its tower (a group of giraffes). According to the zoo’s announcement, the gestation period for giraffes is about 15 months. At birth, calves are about 6 feet tall and weigh between 100 and 150 pounds.
The zoo also marked World Giraffe Day with activities and a public plasma-draw demonstration. The Columbus Zoo and the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs co-founded a giraffe plasma bank that helps sick animals by providing transfusions. (The Greenville Zoo in South Carolina also is a participant.) Since 2017, the Columbus Zoo has provided plasma to help save four newborn giraffes at other zoos.
Since 2002, the Columbus Zoo has raised $191,825 for giraffe conservation initiatives and also gave a $56,679 grant to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation through the Wine for Wildlife Fund-A-Need. For more information about the zoo’s conservation efforts, go to globalimpact.columbuszoo.org/about.