Zoo officials don't want newborn giraffe to get bullied

KRISTINA IODICE Updated: July 11, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: July 11, 2012

The newest arrival to the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo was falling asleep on his feet late Wednesday morning after a very busy first day.

The zoo welcomed a baby reticulated giraffe at 12:22 a.m. Tuesday and within 20 minutes he was on his feet. A little later, he was nursing. Zoo staff did a complete check-up on him Wednesday morning and he was going great, said zoo spokeswoman Katie Borremans.

The giraffe barn opened later Wednesday to let visitors see the baby, and eventually he and his mom will be able to go to their own outside enclosure, apart from the herd.

“They don’t want him to be bullied,” Borremans said. “He’s so small he could get lost in the shuffle.”

During his exam, he weighed in at about 148 pounds and is about 5 feet, 4 inches tall. When he’s stronger, he will join the herd, now numbered at 21, she said.

Zoo tradition means the little guy won’t be named for 30 days.

“It gives keepers a chance to get to know their personalities,” Borremans said.

Animals are named by keepers, or the zoo asks the public to suggest ideas. Sometimes, someone special to the zoo is selected for the honor, which was the case with a giraffe born to the zoo in late 2010.

The new baby was the fourth calf born to 11-year-old Uzuri, who was born and raised at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. Two of her previous calves are part of the herd.

“She’s an experienced mom,” Borremans said, adding that Uzuri paced alongside the pen where her baby was examined and wouldn’t take her eyes off him.

Mawimbi, outside in a separate pen, didn’t seem too interested — typical for giraffe dads, she said.

The newest arrival wasn’t a surprise. Zookeepers keep logs of breeding activity and weigh giraffes monthly, adding that a steady increase in weight in a female that was seen breeding is an indication of pregnancy. Occasionally, vet staff will do an ultrasound, she said.

The little one is the 195th giraffe born at the zoo.

Contact Kristina Iodice: 636-0162 Twitter @GazetteKristina Facebook Kristina Iodice

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