Baby animals are my weakness. You know those videos of the sleeping kittens twitching in their sleep? I cry.
So when Gulf Breeze Zoo announced the birth of not one but two new zoo babies, I was ecstatic.
On July 24, reticulated giraffe “Gabby” went into labor just after 3:00 pm inside the giraffe exhibit. Patient zoo guests anxiously watched her deliver a healthy calf, “Gus,” two hours later at 5:00 pm.
Gus’s literally dropped into the world from six feet up since giraffes give birth standing.
“Giraffe give birth standing up, so Gus had a six-foot drop into the world, which may be surprising to some, but that’s the perfect birth if you’re a giraffe,” said General Curator, Jamie McMaster
She and the Animal Care Staff had been anticipating the birth for the past fifteen months, the typical gestation period for giraffe. Although Gabby had full access to the privacy of the maternal stall in the giraffe barn she elected to give birth in the exhibit yard.
After the birth, Gabby unfortunately displayed no interest in caring for her new offspring and did not demonstrate any protective instincts even when staff entered the exhibit to examine the calf.
But Gus was in good hands.
Zookeepers stepped in to care for the “little” guy (who was born taller than me!) They already had a nursery stall set up and a special milk formula on hand just in case. As with any baby, Gus requires around the clock care and feedings.
Less than a week later on July 30, a dromedary camel calf was born.
“Lexington” is the first baby to “Ladybug” a six-year-old dromedary camel. With knobby-knees and fur like a sheep, he is adorable.
While Animal Care Staff were eagerly anticipating Lexington’s birth, they were unsure how Ladybug would do as a first-time mother. Soon after the birth it was clear that animal care staff needed to intervene for the well-being of the new calf and he was moved to the nursery to receive immediate care.
In his new enclosure, the little camel has no problem making himself heard. He is known for “sassing” his keepers by bellowing every time they come to check on him. He’s saying “feed me,” even when feeding time isn’t for another hour.
While dromedary camels are still relatively common in the wild, reticulated giraffe are not. Scientists estimate that fewer than 9,000 of this giraffe species remain in their native habitat of East Africa. “With many wild populations in peril, every giraffe birth should be met with great excitement,” said McMaster.
Both calves are very healthy and can be viewed daily, weather dependent. “Gus” the giraffe calf can be viewed in the giraffe nursery yard from 11am to 3pm, by the Giraffe exhibit. “Lexington” the dromedary camel calf can be viewed daily in the baby yard.
Come meet Gus and Lexington. Book your vacation at navarrelistings.com