The Waterhole

May 2017

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What’s New


She’s been a ray of sunshine since her arrival, and our giraffe calf finally has a sunny new name: Rae.

Born Wednesday, April 26, Rae is the second calf born to mom, Msitu, and dad, Khalid. Not only does the little cinnamon-faced juvenile giraffe have quite the legacy within the CMZoo family, she now has quite the name to live up to.

Rae is named after Rae Gamble, 99, a world traveler with a heart for animals. Two years ago, while on an African safari, Gamble became captivated by wild giraffe. She subsequently decided to make an impact on the lives of both wild giraffe and those in human care by leaving an estate gift to help with giraffe conservation. As thanks, we’ve chosen to name our new calf in her honor.

Gamble was introduced to the Zoo by Dr. Matt Johnston, faculty chief for Avian, Exotic, and Zoological Medicine at Colorado State University’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. The partnership between CMZoo’s veterinary staff and CSU’s veterinary program over the past seven years has resulted in not only a greater shared understanding of how to treat certain Zoo animal medical conditions, but also in new treatments that could have a ripple effect throughout the veterinary field.

CSU and CMZoo collaborate on many cases, such as the giraffe stem cell treatment you can read about in this month’s “Aging Animals” Waterhole story.

Dr. Johnston described Gamble as a kind and caring animal advocate who was forever changed when she traveled to Africa and interacted with wild giraffe.

“She fell in love with the giraffe,” Dr. Johnston said. “Then, I explained to her that she could make a difference in their lives, those in zoos and in the wild. Giraffe are already locally extinct in seven African countries, and yet few people realize they are threatened with extinction. The work we do now to save these iconic animals may help ensure they are still around for generations to come.”

Dr. Johnston said Gamble appreciates leaving a lasting legacy in the name of conservation, especially for her favorite animals. He accompanied Gamble and her daughter, Carla Kane, to CMZoo to view the calf shortly after little Rae’s birth, and they were smitten.

Animal Care Manager Amy Schilz is excited her newest charge will have a fitting name. Schilz said she has enjoyed watching Rae progress during the past few weeks.

“It’s been so fun to watch her little ossicones start to pop up and watch her really start to get control of her legs,” Schilz said.

Schilz said Rae still follows her mother, Msitu, around pretty closely, and great-grandmother Tamu, the eldest in the herd of 17, is never too far away.

Little Rae has now been introduced to almost all of the herd and is able to venture outside into both the small and large yards at the Zoo. Tune into our Giraffe Cam to see our giraffe herd anytime (weather permitting):

Take a look back at Rae’s first month and her many milestones so far:


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