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Baby Giraffe makes debut at zoo

August 27, 2008 4:31:58 PM PDT
He's a big baby, but you can meet him eye-to-eye -- right now. But before long that cute calf will be a full grown giraffe! The baby boy was born on August 15. His vets and keepers say he's doing great. As is his mother, Franny, a three time mother.

Mom was by his side in the Habitat Africa at Brookfield Zoo on Wednesday as the calf made his debut. The calf, who has not been named, is the 57th giraffe born at Brookfield Zoo.

"Well, he's a giraffe. I mean how many animals when they're born are 150 pounds and six feet tall and make a five foot drop from Mom to the ground?" said Amy Roberts, lead keeper Habitat Africa.

Franny survived 14 1/2 months of pregnancy and the calf survived that 5-foot fall into his new world. And now he is an official member of a very tall and very strange species, whose front legs look longer than his back.

"That's actually an illusion. When you look at him and when you look you'll see they're actually the same height. It's the shape of the body and the slope of the back that make them look like different lengths," Roberts.

The calf will begin his lopsided life- where he'll rarely sleep, like all giraffes.

"Just around two hours a day and not all at one time. They take short little ..... giraffe naps," said Dana Vinci, keeper Brookfield Zoo Habitat Africa.

Despite just two hours of sleep a day, the new giraffe will reach great heights -- about 18-feet. And, he could weigh over 2,000 pounds.


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