Checking in with the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s baby giraffe!

The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s newest -- and maybe cutest! -- resident catapulted into the world in Oct. 19 and has been stealing hearts ever since.
Published: Nov. 4, 2022 at 11:34 AM MDT
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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s newest -- and maybe cutest! -- resident catapulted into the world in Oct. 19 and has been stealing hearts ever since.

She made her grand entrance in just 90 minutes ...

“It was probably the quickest labor and delivery we’ve ever seen with any of our giraffes,” said Rachael Hahn senior lead keeper for the zoo’s African Rift Valley.

... And has been ready to see the world since that very first moment!

“Baby was really lively and ready to go right away; she was picking her head up and looking around, Bailey was cleaning her off and doing all of the great mom things, and she was trying to stand within five minutes, and that is excellent. You want to see them trying to stand within that first hour or two, and so she started trying to stand. She was having some issues getting her footing where it needed to be, so we just helped her a little bit getting her to a spot where she was a little more stable, and then she stayed standing. And at that point, we were able to determine she was a girl, and so that was a cool moment where we were able to move her, help her out a little bit, and then we didn’t need to intervene any longer after that point. She started walking around, and within an hour after that, she started nursing. So she hit those markers and milestones we watch her right on time or earlier than we normally see them, so that was great,” Hahn said.

The zoo says since her birth, Baby has continued meeting or exceeding all of the important milestones.

“Baby is doing really well. She’s super healthy, because of that, we haven’t had to get hands on Baby at all since that first moment when we helped her out a tiny bit. So we haven’t gotten a weight or a height, like, specifically, but we know that she’s a healthy calf. She’s around what we normally see, so we’re estimating around 6 feet tall and 125 pounds -- big baby! It’s good that we haven’t had to go in and do anything. She follows Mom around really well, which is also something that we want to see. Typically, babies will stay close to mom because moms is safety and food. So when we’re moving her around, either outside or around the barn, she follows mom really closely, which makes our jobs really easy because she’s able to move and we can go clean and put food in where we need it to or toys for her, and then we can move them back to that space later on. Baby is super curious and super playful; we’re starting to see a lot of her personality, which is super cute!”

And she’s becoming quite the spitfire ...

“She’s really showing us a lot about her personality. She’s incredibly curious and very brave. She may even be more curious than her sister, her half-sister Viv, who was maybe our most brave and tenacious giraffe calf we’ve had in a very long time -- she may have her beat. At first, she was pretty laid back, and now she just wants to check out everything and everyone, so it’s really fun to watch her.”

Hahn says mother Bailey has been “wonderful” as a second-time mom.

“She’s probably the best mom we’ve seen also in a very long time. She’s very attentive, but she also is really trusting of her home and the staff that works with her, so you will see her sometimes leave Baby in another space and go do Bailey things: she’ll go eat, engage with guests, and check out other things, and then she’ll come back and check that Baby is okay. That’s something we would see giraffe in the wild doing as well, so that’s a very good thing; it means she’s comfortable here, she’s doing her job really well.”

Baby has met father Khalid, who Hahn says seems quite interested about the youngster. She’s not certain whether Khalid knows the little one is his offspring.

“Dad is very curious about Baby! When they were able to touch faces the other day, he was licking her face and she was very curious, and so that was really cool to see that. It’s a good step getting towards the point where we might put them together. He’s very gentle, though, he’s probably our most gentle giraffe out of the entire herd.”

Baby has made two really big steps forward in the last several days: the zoo says she’s starting to sample solid foods like lettuce and leaves off of branches, and earlier this week got to go out in the big yard for the very first time. The zoo says there were lots -- and lots! -- of zoomies involved!

Baby’s keepers say guests will be able to see a lot more of her out in the big yard in the coming days and weeks. They can’t wait for everyone to see her adorable personality up close!

In keeping with zoo tradition, she will be given a name around when she hits 30 days old. Hahn says the zoo is still finalizing how they’ll be selecting her name, but her spunky personality may offer some hints.

“A lot of the time, the personality of the calf will obviously inspire what we name them,” Hahn told 11 News.

Baby is the latest in a long list of successful giraffe calf births at the zoo. She is 203rd born at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo since 1956!

“We just want to tell everybody that we appreciate everyone following Bailey’s journey so closely, and now that the calf is here, following her life and journey as well. We have a great giraffe-loving and zoo-loving community, so we value that so greatly,” Hahn said.

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