San Francisco Zoo Welcomes Newest Member: A Baby Giraffe

The calf has a rare geometric pattern on its coat, zoo officials say.

By Raji Ramanathan and Samantha Tata
|  Wednesday, May 29, 2013  |  Updated 8:39 PM PDT
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San Francisco Zoo

This is one of the first photos from the San Francisco Zoo of the baby giraffe.

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The newest member of the San Francisco Zoo is just seven days old but already stands 6 feet tall.

The calf, whose gender has not yet been revealed, is bonding privately with its mother, an 11-year-old giraffe named Kristin.

Kristin gave birth to the healthy baby giraffe on May 22. The San Francisco Zoo released the first photos of the new giraffe Wednesday.

The newborn is a reticulated giraffe, meaning it has a unique geometric pattern on its coat. While reticulated giraffes are not endangered, they are still very rare.

Zoo keepers said the mother will nurse her young for a few weeks until the pair is introduced into the African Savanna exhibit, where the public can visit the family.

“We are very excited about this birth,” Jim Nappi, curator of hoofstock and marsupials at the San Francisco Zoo, said in a news release.

“Giraffes add a special majesty to our multi-species African Savanna exhibit. Their successful breeding means that our Zoo-wide Wellness Initiative is working as it should be; and when the animals are thriving, we are happy.”

The calf’s mother Kristin was born in Busch Gardens in Tampa and has given birth to three other calves in 2006, 2007 and 2009.

The newborn calf’s 11-year-old father Floyd was born in Albuquerque and is the zoo’s only male adult giraffe.

Last week, the San Francisco Zoo took in a baby giraffe from Rio Grande Zoo at Albuquerque in hopes to increase its giraffe herd.

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