Autumn, the Greenville Zoo’s female Masai giraffe, went into labor early Sunday evening and gave birth at 10:25 p.m. The calf was up and walking within the first hour and was nursing shortly after midnight.
A team of zookeepers and veterinary staff conducted a neonatal exam this morning to verify through bloodwork that the calf has received the colostrum from Autumn’s milk that provides the antibodies it needs to build a strong immune system. During the exam, the staff determined that the calf is a male and that he is six feet, one inch tall and weighs 165 pounds. In comparison, sister Kiden was six feet, two inches tall and weighed 157 pounds when she was born.
According to Greenville Zoo director Jeff Bullock, the zoo staff will likely allow the calf access to the giraffe exhibit on Wednesday, July 3 to give him a chance to explore it with Autumn by his side. Then, on Thursday, Kiden will be allowed to join Autumn and the calf on exhibit so that she can meet her brother. When the calf is on exhibit, visitors can expect to see him doing what most babies do - nursing and sleeping. As he grows, he will become more active and very curious.
Miles, the zoo’s male Masai giraffe, is currently separated from Autumn and the calf to allow time for them to bond without interruption, and time for the calf to gain the strength and ability to navigate the giraffe exhibit well. In the coming weeks, Autumn, the calf and Kiden will alternate exhibit time with Miles.
The Greenville Zoo will provide regular updates on its Facebook page to let the public know the likelihood of the calf being out on exhibit, so guests planning to visit the zoo specifically to see the calf are encouraged to check the Facebook page ahead of time. For those times when he is not on exhibit, fans can still watch the calf on the Giraffe Cam. Plans for naming the calf will be announced in the coming weeks.
# # #