Fossil Rim Wildlife Center recently welcomed another baby giraffe into the world, expanding the size of its herd to nine.
There must be something in the water.
Less than two months after a female calf — Opal, short for Opulence — was born to parents Jurz (the mom) and Mosi (the proud papa), a male calf was born. Its parents are Mosi and Nettie.
Yes, Mosi gets around, but that’s his job. He’s a breeding male at the facility.
The newest calf was born March 6, and has not yet been named. The cuteness factor is multiplied when the two calves get together. In fact, it’s pretty special, according to Fossil Rim Animal Care Specialist Molly Shea.
“It’s a whole other thing when you can see two calves of similar age play and interact with each other,” Shea said. “It’s pretty stinkin’ adorable. Also it’s a cool opportunity to see the differences in the mothers too.
“Jurz had Opal on Jan 13 and has been a very good mom but is very protective and tends to stay very close to her. Nettie, on the other hand, who gave birth to the male calf on March 6 is much more laid back. She’s much more likely to leave the kid with another female or let it explore a little farther than Jurz might with her kid.”
The roll call among the Fossil Rim giraffe herd also includes Shiner, a 9-year-old male; Snorgie, a 7-year-old breeding female; Kenya, a 9-year-old breeding female; and Nyla, born to Nettie almost two years ago.
Asked if it was rare to have two calves born within that time span at the facility, Shea said not necessarily.
“Nettie and Snorgie (two of our adult females) are only about two weeks apart. Once we have a herd with females of breeding age and a successful male they will consistently give birth about every two years at least. And with four breeding females its bound to happen.”
Shea said that staff members are mostly “hands off” with newborns, so they don’t have a birth weight. But she said giraffe calves can range from 120 to 150 pounds.
“He would probably be on the higher end of the spectrum where Opal was much smaller at birth. We keep a very close eye on behavior of the kid and mom to ensure that the calf is healthy. We monitor nursing very closely especially in the first 48 hours when its crucial for the calf to get that milk.”
Visitors to Fossil Rim may not get to have a close-up view of the newborn immediately, but it shouldn’t be long.
“The new calf is out and visible to the public although guests probably won’t get to see him for a few weeks,” Shea said. “Nettie is keeping him tucked away most of the day so he can gather his strength until he can keep up with the herd.
“Opal on the other hand has joined the herd and is much more social. A few very lucky guests actually got to see the new calf at just a few minutes old and witnessed many of his firsts. I hope that is something they never forget. It was a first in person giraffe birth for me to see and I think it was for (a) few staff members too. It’s a very special moment.”