Audubon Nature Institute welcomes baby giraffe

Audubon Nature Institute welcomes baby giraffe

ALGIERS, LA (WVUE) - The Audubon Nature Institute welcomed a baby giraffe into the family.

Back in December, the institute announced that three giraffes were pregnant.

The giraffes are housed at the Audubon Species Survival Center in a remote spot along the Mississippi River in Algiers, a joint venture between the Audubon Nature Institute and San Diego Zoo Global.

A 6-foot-tall male reticulated giraffe calf, a typical height for a newborn, weighed in at an impressive 150 pounds when he arrived on the morning of January 9 at the West Bank campus, according to the report.

The average labor for a giraffe is one to two hours. Tumaini, the mother, started giving birth at 6:30 a.m., but the calf didn't make his grand entrance until four hours later.

"It was longer than expected but everything was progressing normally, just slower, so we just watched,'' said Michelle Hatwood, Curator of the Species Survival Center. "Most giraffe do not need any assistance; we would have intervened only if absolutely necessary.''

Animal care staff described Tumaini as "very cautious and shy,'' prompting staff to remain very quiet during her labor, according to the report.

Both mommy and baby are doing fine.

"When the calf was born, his legs were awkwardly tangled over his head and we thought we might have to help get his lanky legs situated,'' Sherrow said. "But he figured it out himself and was standing in no time.''

With the new addition, the Species Survival Center now is home to eight giraffe: three males and five females. The giraffe in ASW's care reside in a 46-acre, forested area; they spend most of their day foraging and looking for their favorite leaves to eat.