4th giraffe calf in past year born at Abilene Zoo

Photo courtesy of Abilene Zoo

Officials on Thursday excitedly announced the birth of the 4th giraffe calf in the past year at the Abilene Zoo.

The yet-to-be-named female calf stands 6-foot-7 and weighs 157 pounds.

Zoo officials said it was born at roughly 7 a.m. Monday.

“We’ve had four calves born in the last year, all sired by our bull Mesi, but this is the first female,” said Bill Gersonde, the zoo’s executive director.

Gersonde said the birth ups the Abilene Zoo’s herd size to 10.

It marked the first birth for mother Sunny, who arrived in 2016 before the zoo’s Giraffe Safari opened.

“When the calf was born she failed to have a good suckling response and didn’t nurse within the first 24 hours,” said Dr. Stephanie Carle, the zoo’s veterinarian.

“For hoofstock like giraffes, it is critical that they receive colostrum (mother’s first milk) within the first 24 hours to help build needed antibodies. Unfortunately, this did not happen for our calf.”

According to a news release, zoo staff obtained blood plasma “containing the necessary important antibodies” from one of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium’s giraffes.

As a result, the calf was able to nurse Wednesday afternoon.

“We are currently monitoring this calf very closely to ensure her immune system responds appropriately and that she continues to nurse and thrive,” Carle said.

Officials expect to put Sunny and the calf on exhibit for zoo guests to see “within the next three weeks.”

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