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Giraffe Born at ABQ BioPark Zoo

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Baby and Mother on Exhibit at Zoo

Giraffe Born at ABQ BioPark Zoo

The hour-old calf tries out shaky legs as mother June and two other females look on. Photo by Amy Landers/ABQ BioPark.

April 20, 2013

At today’s Earth Day celebration, Zoo visitors had the surprise chance to see the birth and first steps of a reticulated giraffe. After showing signs of labor around 9:30 a.m., 18-year-old June gave birth to a healthy calf at 10:12 a.m. The newborn was on its feet and walking within 40 minutes. Native to the grasslands of Africa, giraffes usually weigh between 120-150 pounds at birth.

View more photos of the new calf on the BioPark's Facebook page.

Two other female giraffes were present for the birth, June’s 2-year-old daughter Amani and unrelated 4-year-old Camilla. The sire, 10-year-old Buccaneer, was in the adjacent yard.

“This is a very special moment at a very special Zoo,” said Mayor Richard J. Berry, who was able to join Zoo guests in watching the calf just an hour after the birth. “Congratulations to the staff who work hard to take such good care of the animals. This new giraffe is another great reason for people to come out and enjoy the Zoo on Half-Price Weekend.”

Dr. Ralph Zimmerman, zoo veterinarian, conducted an initial visual examination from the viewing area and will continue observations throughout the day. Unless there are concerns, the animal care team does not intervene in the mother and calf bonding and the calf’s first days of life. Zookeepers have yet to determine if the calf is male or female. The calf will remain on exhibit with June.

“June has raised seven other calves and she has always been a wonderful mother,” said Dr. Zimmerman. “We’ll keep a close eye on the new little one, but we know June’s going to do a great job.”

The ABQ BioPark celebrated Earth Day today with more than 7,000 guests at the Zoo, Aquarium and Botanic Garden . Half-Price Weekend continues tomorrow, Sunday, April 21, with 50% off all single admission tickets. (BioPark combo tickets and online tickets remain regularly priced.)

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