COLORADO SPRINGS — After weeks of waiting, 8-year-old Bailey welcomed her first calf at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Monday afternoon!
The zoo said Bailey and the female giraffe calf, which will be named after she is 30 days old, are doing well.
“You couldn’t ask anything more of a first-time mom,” said Jason Bredahl, giraffe animal care manager at CMZoo, in a release. “Bailey is nonstop grooming her baby, paying attention and making sure the baby is in a good position to nurse. Mom is doing a great job.”
According to a Facebook post on the zoo's page, their first indication that labor was starting was the calf's two front hooves emerging from mom.
The Zoo’s records show that Bailey bred with bull Khalid on June 29, 2019. Giraffe pregnancies typically range between 14 and 16 months. The 15-month mark would have been tomorrow, September 29.
“Giraffe calves can be fragile, so we try to encourage people to be realistic about the risks while they enjoy the excitement of the hope we know giraffe calves bring to so many,” said Jason Bredahl, African Rift Valley animal care manager. “We’re optimistic that advances in medicine, like the availability of giraffe plasma and stem cell treatments, will help us navigate any medical needs the calf may have.”
There are 16 reticulated giraffes in the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo herd. This calf would bring the number to 17.
Bailey was born at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, in Omaha, Nebraska in March 2012 and moved to Cheyenne Mountain Zoo on a breeding recommendation in September 2016. This will be Bailey’s first calf. CMZoo’s breeding program began in 1954 and has welcomed more than 200 calves since its inception.
Reticulated giraffes are endangered. There are just over 11,000 mature individuals in the wild, and that population trend is decreasing. In addition to keeping the species alive, by participating in a species survival plan and breeding a genetically diverse population in human care, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo supports ongoing conservation efforts to help giraffe in the wild.