– GIRAFFE CALF BIRTH #200 IS EXPECTED WITHIN THE WEEK AT CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO…AND #201 WILL FOLLOW SHORTLY –
April 24, 2018, Colorado Springs, CO – The due date for Muziki, a 20-year-old female giraffe at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, is now within a week, and 10-year-old Laikipia’s due date will follow shortly after. These two calves will be the 200th and 201st giraffe calves born at the Zoo, and the public is welcome to watch the birth live online at cmzoo.org/birthcam.
Giraffe gestations are typically 14.5 months, but, as with humans, can be shorter or longer depending on the individual pregnancy. Muziki bred with our nine-year-old breeding bull, Khalid, on Valentine’s Day 2017, which puts her due date at Saturday, April 28. Laikipia bred with Khalid about a week later, which would put her due date at Saturday, May 5. Keepers report that Muziki is starting to show physical signs that the birth is getting closer, but do not tell us specific timing (a few days to a week would be safe guesses).
The birth of the two calves would bring the number in Zoo’s herd to 19 giraffe.
Giraffe fans are also welcome to “shower” our giraffe moms-to-be with name suggestions for the 200th calf. For a $5 donation, the public can suggest a pair of names (one male and one female) at cmzoo.org/name. Proceeds benefit the enrichment and care of our giraffe herd. Name suggestions must be in PRIOR to the birth of the 200th calf, so we encourage suggestions soon.
The temporary birth cam at cmzoo.org/birthcam is scheduled to stream 24 hours per day until after the babies arrive. The cam shows the Zoo’s giraffe birthing stall, which has been prepared with about six inches of sand to cushion the fall when the babies are born. Giraffe calves can fall nearly six feet when they’re born.
The stall and camera will mostly be active overnight between 4 p.m. and 9 a.m. Mountain time. During daytime hours, our two moms-to-be will typically be with the rest of the herd, until we see signs of the actual birthing process. There may be other giraffes visiting the stall during the day, or viewers could see zookeepers tending to it.
At night, the camera will automatically shift into night-vision mode, and two dim red lights on the stall will help us view the giraffe moms at night. The red lights are enough for the giraffe to be visible with night vision, but not enough to disturb the natural daily cycles that they are used to. Although they are used to it being dark at night, they still only sleep about 20 to 60 minutes per night, just as they would in the wild. Giraffe can sleep standing up, so it is not usual for them to stay standing throughout the night, or to lay down for a portion of the night.
The first thing that viewers will see when the time comes is two front hooves emerging from mom. After that, they should see the head. The back hooves will usually be the last thing to emerge, and then the calf will drop to the ground, naturally severing the umbilical cord and stimulating baby’s first breath. After that, mom will encourage the calf to stand up within about an hour after birth, which can sometimes look like she’s nudging or kicking the baby.
During the down times with the birth cam, giraffe fans can also view our herd via two additional live streaming cams when they’re in the outside yard. These cams are always available at cmzoo.org/giraffecam.
About Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society was founded in 1926. Today, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, America’s ONLY mountain zoo, offers comprehensive education programs, exciting conservation efforts and truly fantastic animal experiences. It is Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s hope that guests fall in love with animals and nature, and take action to protect them. Of the 230 zoos and aquariums accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA), Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is one of just nine operating without tax support. Cheyenne Mountain Zoo depends on admissions, membership dues and donations for funding.