The Santa Barbara Zoo welcome a 150-pound bundle of joy to the facility this week: a baby giraffe.
The zoo announced in a news release Friday that one of its two female Masai giraffes, Adia, gave birth early Wednesday morning to a healthy male calf named Raymie.
According to the release, the calf’s legs were first observed around 11 p.m. Tuesday night, and Adia was in active labor for three hours before Raymie was born.
“We are thrilled to share the news of this birth and welcome another Masai giraffe to our herd,” Julie Barnes, the zoo’s vice president of animal care and health, said in the release. “Each giraffe born at the zoo is very important to this population and conservation of this species, so we’re especially proud of the critical work done at the Santa Barbara Zoo with our incredible animal care team.”
The zoo says the calf was standing 45 minutes after it was born and currently appears strong and healthy. At his first medical exam Thursday, he weighed approximately 157 pounds and measured about 5 feet 9 inches tall.
“While we’ve seen many giraffe births here at the Santa Barbara Zoo, it’s always exciting to see another calf born and stand for the first time,” Barnes said.
According to the release, this is Adia’s second calf and she is “once again showing excellent maternal behavior.” Her first calf, Twiga, was born in March 2020 just after the zoo closed for the pandemic.
Masai giraffes are listed as endangered because of “significant decline of this species in the wild in recent decades,” according to the release. The number of Masai giraffes under human care here in the U.S. is relatively small — there are only about 120 in North American zoos — and the Species Survival Plan manages the population to ensure that it is healthy and genetically diverse.
The zoo could soon welcome another new baby giraffe: the herd’s other adult female, Audrey, is also currently pregnant and expected to give birth in July.
With the new addition, there are now five giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo.
According to the release, Adia and Raymie are currently in isolation in the giraffe barn, bonding behind the scenes. The zoo’s animal care team will determine when they are ready to be viewed by the public.
In the meantime, here are the first pictures of baby Raymie, courtesy of the Santa Barbara Zoo.