MEMPHIS, Tenn. — For the second time this week, the Memphis Zoo has announced a new addition to the family.
This time it is a reticulated giraffe calf born May 16, 2014.
It happened as zoo visitors watched.
According to the zoo, “Marilyn,” a 21-year-old female reticulated giraffe gave birth to “Tamu Massif,” a healthy baby boy, weighing in at 150 pounds.
Tamu is the fifth calf for Marilyn, and the seventh sired by “Kenya.” The Memphis Zoo giraffe herd has nine members.
“Tamu is doing incredibly well,” says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “He’s happy and healthy. Marilyn is a great, experienced mother, so she’s taking this all in stride.”
Mother and son will be spending short amounts of time on exhibit between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., rotating them with different members of the herd.
“Tamu” is a Swahili word meaning sweet. “Massif” is “massive” in French. Roughly translated together, it means “sweet giant.”
“Reticulated giraffes give birth standing, and are one of the few animals born with horns on their heads. This is to protect them from a 6-foot fall to the ground at birth. A baby giraffe can walk within five minutes of birth, and will feed 20 minutes thereafter,” according to a news release from the zoo.
About the Memphis Zoo’s Giraffes:
The Memphis Zoo has kept reticulated giraffes in the collection since August 1957.
Marilyn, the female, was moved to the Zoo in November of 2002. Kenya, the father of all six of the babies at the Memphis Zoo, was transferred from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2005. He is 17 years old.
In the wild, reticulated giraffes live in loose herds, constructed of family groups. These groups can range from five to 15 members. The gestation period for a reticulated giraffe is 15 months.