Thursday, May 8, 2008

Baby Giraffe at Jackson Zoo

Monday, Giraffes at Jackson Zoo had a new baby female.

The Jackson Zoo has been very successful breeding Giraffes over the years. Diamond, the baby's mother has had six successful births. Because the zoo only has room for two adult Giraffes, babies are sold to other zoos when they are old enough to be separated from their mother, usually six months to a year after birth.

Despite a nearly six foot drop, Giraffes give birth standing up. As is common among grazing animals, Baby giraffes can walk almost immediately after birth.

Zoo veterinarians diagnosed this new baby with weak tendons in her back legs. As a precaution, they wrapped her legs in tape and she is expected to make a quick recovery.

The Giraffe exhibit was originally built in the 1950's. It is the last exhibit in the carnivore moat structure between the original zoo entrance and its current entrance. These exhibits are constructed of concrete formed over steel frames. The giraffe exhibit is somewhat unique, in that visitors have an interior section resembling a cave where they can view the bedtime stalls for the giraffes.

As was common at the time, the exhibit originally featured concrete floors to facilitate cleaning with a pressure hose. It was later determined that the concrete was bad for the animals' hooves and joints, so nearly twenty years ago, the zoo merged the giraffe exhibit with the newer camel exhibit which had a dirt floor. The move also gave the animals more room to stretch their considerably long legs.

Links:
Clarion Ledger Article
Jackson Zoo Website

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