Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Continues to Care for 10-Day-Old Giraffe Calf

June 14, 2018

— Calf also Receives a Name…Earlier than Expected —

Colorado Springs, CO – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is continuing care for its 10-day old giraffe calf, which was the 200th to be born in the Zoo’s history. The calf was found splayed the stall she shared with her mom, Muziki, on Wednesday morning around 8:15 a.m. Since then, the Zoo’s animal care and veterinary teams have been partnering to provide the best possible decisions for the calf’s well-being.

Because of her recent health events, we decided to end the public name voting early and award her a name now. We looked at the two most popular names, Mia and Penny, and let the calf decide for herself, since her care team was split. They played Mamma Mia and Penny Lane for her, and it seemed like the calf is a Beatles fan. She will now be officially known as Penny, which was inspired by Spencer and Julie Penrose, the Zoo’s founders.

“Splay” is a term used to describe when an animal’s legs go out from under them in an unnatural way. In giraffe, splaying can have varying degrees of severity, from moderately serious to life-threatening. The Zoo’s staff immediately assessed the condition of the calf and determined the most urgent medical need was to raise her blood sugar levels. When those levels were more under control, she was reunited with Muziki, her mom, to see if the calf would nurse and gain strength. When those nursing efforts were unsuccessful and the calf splayed again, the difficult decision was made to separate Muziki from the calf and begin hand-rearing protocols.

Although the calf has walked on its own throughout the night, staff is still helping the baby stand and lay down, to prevent further injury. The extent of any injuries to her legs and hips is still being evaluated, and likely will be for some time. The calf has thus far been resistant to bottle feeding, so she is receiving tube feedings. Another attempt to have her nurse from mom this morning had mixed results, with the calf nursing for a brief time, but ultimately splaying again.

The Zoo’s care teams are well-equipped to treat the calf, and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has been recognized nationally for the advances they are making in veterinary medicine. However, we still don’t know if the calf’s condition is something we can overcome.

The Zoo plans to continue to update the public through social media, with periodic live Facebook videos when we have news to share and it doesn’t interfere with the calf’s care. We would like to thank everyone who has reached out with thoughts, prayers and support. We are truly grateful.

If you would like to help support Penny please make a donation HERE.

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.