Busch Gardens Tampa Bay welcomed a new baby female reticulated giraffe on Monday, Jan. 27, 2012. At six foot, two inches tall and weighing approximately 176 pounds, the newborn is the calf of father, Jafari and mother, Cupid. This is Jafari’s second calf, and cupid’s fifth.
This new addition brings the park’s reticulated giraffe population to 19. Exactly one month to the day before this most recent birth, another female in the herd, Tesa, gave birth to Jafari’s first calf, which was also female.
The new mother and baby are currently in an area out of guest view so they can be closely monitored by zoo staff to ensure the baby is nursing and growing properly. The duo will join the other animals on the Serengeti Plain in about three months.
A reticulated giraffe’s gestation period is approximately 15 months, and the new baby will nurse for about one year. This birth is part of a successful long-term breeding program at Busch Gardens. The term “reticulated” refers to the giraffe’s net-like pattern of spots.
Busch Gardens’ 65-acre Serengeti Plain is a naturalistic habitat featuring a diverse population of free-roaming African animals including giraffe, zebra, white rhinoceros, eland antelope and several other species of hoof stock and birds.
You can view these amazing animals from the Serengeti Express, the Skyride or on a Serengeti Safari, an open-truck tour during which you can hand-feed reticulated giraffes and get up-close with the other animals on the plain.