The newest addition to Gulf Breeze Zoo certainly doesn’t fall short of expectations. New mom Gabby, an 11-year-old reticulated giraffe, gave birth to her first calf and the Zoo is asking for the community’s help in naming him.
The 5’8’’ male calf was born on Nov. 10 and his birth has been long awaited. The Zoo had been hoping for a new giraffe since the introduction of the calf’s father, Geronimo, a 5-year-old reticulated giraffe in 2010. The Zoo now has four giraffes in all, including female giraffe, Kenya.
“Sometimes you just have to wait for nature to take its course,” said Desiree Hager, assistant curator of mammals. “Gabby had lived alone for a while so it took her some time to warm up to Geronimo.”
Zookeepers had been monitoring Gabby closely for several months before she gave birth and both she and the calf recovered quickly. Female giraffes typically only give birth to one calf throughout their lifetime, and the pregnancy lasts for 15 months. Calves are dependent on their mothers for just over a year.
“We are keeping the calf in a separate,adjacent yard and bottle feeding him,” said Zoo director Kayte Wanko. “Gabby has always been a little skittish of other giraffes.”
The new male giraffe calf is currently unnamed and Zoo officials are asking the community to help. A naming contest for the giraffe will be held beginning Dec. 9and will run through Dec. 30. The winning name will be announced Jan. 1. Contest winners will receive a behind the scenes tour to meet the entire giraffe family. Names may be submitted on the Gulf Breeze Zoo’s Facebook and a website link will be available as well.
The giraffe calf will be available for viewing daily, weather dependent, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and public feedings will be held twice a day at 10:45 a.m. and 1:45 a.m. To read more, subscribe online or pick up a copy of the Dec. 12 Navarre Press.