*We are heartbroken to hear of Penny the giraffe's passing. Please find details on how you can help giraffe conservation efforts at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo here.*
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is proud to announce the 200th successful giraffe birth in its history! The female calf was born June 4 to a worldwide audience, as the birth was live streamed on YouTube and Facebook. The calf is the fifth offspring for 20-year-old mom, Muziki (moo-ZEE’-kee), and the fourth to be sired by dad, Khalid (pronounced cull-EED). The calf joins our existing herd of 17 giraffes, bringing us to a total of 18.
The calf was born at 8:20 p.m. MDT and started to try to stand up shortly after birth, which normal for giraffe calves. When it still had not been able to stand at about 10:30 p.m., the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams decided it was time to lend a hand. They were able to separate the calf from Muziki long enough to give it a quick veterinary check and help it to its feet. This was also when we found out she is female, the care team estimated her at 5’ 8” tall and approximately 120 pounds.
After the calf was observed standing and walking on its own for a few minutes, Muziki was allowed back into the birth stall with the calf. Since then, mother and baby are bonding well and we’re seeing the natural behaviors that we would hope to see.
Assuming everything is progressing normally with Muziki and the calf, guests will be able to see giraffe calf #200 in the giraffe building today. The zoo limits access to ensure that things stay calm for the newborn.
Because Muziki was also born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, she has grown up in the culture of voluntary husbandry training that the Zoo is known for. This means that she voluntarily participates in her own health care, which fosters a strong trust relationship between keeper and animal.
Through this training, the Zoo was able to voluntarily draw blood, confirming Muziki’s pregnancy early on. The Zoo was able to get limited ultrasound images of the calf during the pregnancy with Muziki’s cooperation, and they were even able to bank some of Muziki’s plasma, in case the calf had needed it after birth.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is not only a leader in the training and health of giraffe in human care, but they are also making a huge difference in the conservation of giraffe in the wild. Since January 2017, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s guests and members have contributed $97,000 through Quarters for Conservation contributions to help the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and its programs to save giraffe in the wild. We have also provided staff on the ground in Uganda for several of those conservation efforts.
Prior to the birth, giraffe fans were able to submit names for consideration for calf #200. Now that we know the calf is female, CMZoo staff will narrow the suggestions down to three finalists, and the public will be allowed to vote on their favorite. More information will be shared soon.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to the world’s most prolific captive reticulated giraffe herd, with 200 births at the Zoo since 1954. Guests can get up close and hand-feed them on special indoor and outdoor elevated platforms anytime during the day, 365 days a year.