Houston Zoo welcomes baby giraffe

August 13, 2009 2:11:29 PM PDT
There's more excitement than usual at the Houston Zoo, thanks to a big brand new addition.The Houston Zoo has announced the birth of a male Masai giraffe. Born to mother Tyra, the as yet unnamed calf arrived at 8:10am Monday. Houston Zoo Hoofed Stock Supervisor Laurie McGivern reports mother and baby are doing fine. Tyra is 11 years old. Kiva, the father is 13 years old.

The arrival of the newborn giraffe follows the birth of another Masai giraffe this year, Miles on January 30 to Noel. With the latest arrival, the Houston Zoo's herd of Masai giraffe has grown to seven, including four males and three females.

While Masai giraffes are not threatened or endangered in their native habitat, there are only 88 of them in North American zoos. Giraffe breeding at the Houston Zoo follows guidelines established by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association's Population Management Plan (PMP) program. PMPs have been developed for selected groups of animals to manage breeding of captive populations in order to maintain healthy, self-sustaining populations that are both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal. The average male is about 17 feet tall and can weigh 3,000 pounds, while an average female is over 14 feet tall. On average, Masai giraffes weigh between 125 and 150 pounds at birth and stand approximately 6 feet tall.

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