There's a new baby in town! This morning, Tessa the 7 year old Massi giraffe gave birth to a little baby girl after about 5 hours of labor. She was completely delivered by 5:30AM and was standing by 7AM. This is Tessa's third birth at the Cincinnati Zoo in three years. Her second calf, Lulu, born October 2012, will be transported to a new family in Cumberland, Ohio sometime in the near future. Her first-born, Zuri, born April 2011, broke her leg at 7 weeks old and unfortunately had to be humanely euthanized.
Tessa's pregnancy was announced by the Zoo around mid-March. According to the zoo's twitter feed, the birth was witnessed by her fellow giraffes standing in the next stall, with proud papa Kimba in the front. Zoo officials were unsure of Tessa's due date since they did not know when she and her mate, Kimba, had had a successful breeding. Giraffe gestation is about 15 months.
Mother giraffes give birth standing up, meaning there is a 5-6 foot drop for the baby once it completely comes out. Experts say this doesn't hurt the baby and actually helps it take its first breath. They are usually standing within an hour or so after the birth.
This 125 pound bundle of cuteness needs a name! The zoo is accepting name suggestions on their Facebook page through Tuesday, April 29 and will have a final four selection vote to take place on May 1. Get your votes in before it's over!