Arrival marks the first giraffe birth at the venue since 1999.
The giraffe herd at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium just gained an adorable new member.
The zoo announced that Zuri gave birth at 4:30 a.m. Oct. 30 in a behind-the-scenes area in the Heart of Africa region. The arrival comes a little more than four months after the zoo announced two of its Masai giraffes were pregnant. Zoo staff members are monitoring mom and baby remotely by camera. The calf, whose sex is not yet known, is doing well, according to the announcement.
In recent months, in collaboration with National Geographic, the public has been able to watch expectant moms Zuri, 8, and Cami, 6, via a webcam at giraffebirthcam.com. Cami has not yet delivered her calf.
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.
Prior to today’s arrival, 19 giraffes had been born at the Columbus Zoo, which now has 16 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’s last giraffe birth was in 1999.
Beyond breeding, giraffe health and conservation also are part of the zoo’s focus. 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.