070819-news-giraffe  22.JPG (copy)
Caption +

Mountain Zoo’s latest baby giraffe, pictured July 7 at a day old. See video online within this story at gazette.com/cheyenneedition.

Show MoreShow Less

In keeping with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s 30-day naming tradition, the giraffe calf born last month has been christened Viv.

The calf was born at 1:20 p.m. July 6, and many people suggested names since then, but one stood out, said zoo CEO Bob Chastain.

“I felt so compelled by this name when I heard it and the meaning behind it, that I discussed it with our vice president and keepers and we all agreed that it told the story of her personality very well,” said Chastain.

Viv means “life, or lively, and is found in words such as revive, vivacious and survive,” Chastain said in a Facebook post.

The person who suggested Viv shared what the name meant to them, he said.

“We’ve decided not to share the details of the person’s story, because we want this little calf to represent something good for all of us. Whether you’re a grieving family in Dayton, Ohio, or El Paso, Texas, or you’re a family who recently lost their daughter, or a family who is struggling through a family member’s terminal illness ... we all have something to celebrate and remember here.”

To her keepers, Viv represents the “little bit of hope and healing we need in the world.”

The calf stood just 35 minutes after her birth, a record for newborn giraffes at the zoo. Since then, her keepers have referred to her as “a little firecracker.”

“She is full of life, and strong and resilient,” Chastain said.

Viv’s mom, Msitu, a 10-year-old reticulated giraffe, was bred with a bull named Khalid in April 2018.

Viv is the zoo’s 201st giraffe birth, bringing the giraffe herd to 16.

With just under 11,000 reticulated giraffe in the wild, the subspecies are facing “the silent crisis,” with populations plummeting by about 40% in the past 10 years, said Amy Schilz, senior lead animal keeper.

“The reason that we have these beautiful animals here at the zoo is to help get people to fall in love with them so that they can save them in the wild.”

Contact the writer: 636-1623

Multimedia Journalist

Liz is a multimedia journalist with a specific interest in environment and outdoor recreation. She watches way too much Star Trek and is working toward her rescue scuba divers certification. Liz joined the Gazette staff in 2019.

Load comments