At 145 pounds, he’s likely the state’s biggest baby — a baby giraffe welcomed to the NC Zoo after what can only be described as a long delivery.
The yet-unnamed calf arrived Saturday, born to first-time mother Leia and big-hearted father Jack. At 6 feet tall, he qualifies as both healthy and appropriately sized to his high-reaching species.
Giddy over their addition, the zoo’s giraffe staff fired off a string of giraffe-related fun facts, such as this: No two giraffes sport the same collection of spots, which are as unique as fingerprints.
And giraffes are pregnant for 14 to 15 months. The zoo announced Leia’s pregnancy in April.
“This new arrival brings the team lots of happiness and excitement to have some young, spunky energy around,” the zoo’s combined giraffe staff raved. “The rest of the giraffe tower — Jack, Turbo and Amelia — are all very curious of the newbie and are bopping noses whenever they can.”
Zoo officials promise name details in the days to come and encourage giraffe fans to watch their social media channels for baby giraffe videos.
The zoo will eventually announce when 17-foot-tall Leia and her son will rejoin the herd and be on public view.
This brings the zoo’s giraffe total to five. There has previously been 12 giraffes born at the zoo.
Leia, a 13-year-old reticulated giraffe born in 2009 at Zoo Miami, arrived in 2014, five years after Jack, who hails from Dickerson Park Zoo. Their pairing sprung from a plan from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, which safeguards the genetic diversity of species in human care, zoo officials reported.
“The giraffes at the North Carolina Zoo serve as ambassadors for their wild cousins, giving our guests the opportunity to learn about these majestic creatures and the conservation challenges they face,” said Zoo Director and CEO Pat Simmons in a statement. “The Zoo’s direct engagement with conservation in Africa means that every zoo visitor is helping to ensure the future of this and other species.”
What to know about giraffes
More giraffe fun facts:
▪ Giraffes, listed as vulnerable in the wild, are the tallest land animals.
▪ Female giraffes stand up to 14 feet tall and weigh up to 1,500 pounds, while males rise 3 feet taller and outweigh their counterparts by a ton and a half.
▪ Giraffes can look into a second-story window.