Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed a new reticulated giraffe Nov. 24, the second born that week.
The healthy female was born on exhibit at 1:10 in the afternoon. Guests were able to see the delivery from the Giraffe Overlook.
The calf is the fourth for Luna and the 18th for his father, Duke. She also marks the 41st giraffe calf born at the Zoo.
When the calf's front hooves made an appearance around 12:30 p.m., keeper staff called most of the herd off exhibit to give Luna space. Another female, Spock, stayed with Luna, and though she gave her privacy for the birth, came over quickly to greet the youngster and helped with the cleaning process. Spock has never had any offspring of her own but has been an excellent “auntie” figure to many calves over the years, said the zoo.
The calf was standing within 30 minutes to the cheers of guests watching from the overlook. Zookeepers have observed the calf nursing well. Luna and the calf will be allowed to stay on exhibit for as long as they are comfortable.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, which focuses on the conservation and management of giraffe in the wild.