The Los Angeles Zoo announced that 10-year-old female Masai giraffe Zainabu and 10-year-old male Masai giraffe Phillip welcomed a healthy male calf on Friday, April 8.
The yet-to-be-named calf weighs in at 172 pounds and stands at six foot seven inches, which makes this calf the tallest giraffe calf in the history of the Los Angeles Zoo. This birth marks the fourth calf for Zainabu and the sixth calf for Phillip.
“Every giraffe birth we have at the L.A. Zoo is exciting,” said Mike Bona, animal keeper at the Los Angeles Zoo. “I’ve worked with giraffes here since 2005, and I have to say, Zainabu is a wonderful mother – she knew exactly what she needed to do when her labor started. I am thrilled that we have this new calf to represent his endangered species.”
Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, and Masai giraffes can grow up to 17 feet tall and weigh 2,700 pounds. Masai giraffes are found in East Africa, namely southern Kenya and northern Tanzania.
Although the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) identifies giraffes as one species and nine subspecies, recent genetic research shows that there could be as many as four full species of giraffes, with Masai being their own species – the largest of the giraffe species. Giraffes are currently categorized as “endangered” by the IUCN Red List because their populations are under threat and declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal hunting, and disease.
Guests are invited to come and see the new calf bonding with its parents, Zainabu and Phillip, along with the rest of the giraffe herd, weather permitting.