One of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s 15 giraffes is expecting, the zoo announced Tuesday.
Veterinarians believe Msitu, 10, is likely to have a calf within the next two months.
The zoo said that while giraffe gestation is not an exact science, Msitu appears to be about 13 and a half months pregnant. Giraffe pregnancies typically range between 14 and 15 months. The 14-month mark would be June 4.
“Msitu has given birth to two healthy calves, so we are cautiously optimistic about the viability of this calf,” the zoo said in a statement.
Msitu’s first calf, Emy, was born in August 2013. She currently lives at the Peoria Zoo in Peoria, Illinois. Rae, who was born in April 2017, is currently the youngest member of the herd at the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
Tuesday is the earliest date zoo staff anticipate Msitu could go into labor. Starting Tuesday night, she will be moved to a sand-floor stall separate from the rest of the herd. She will remain with the herd during the day.
Zoo staff said the sand-floor stall helps prevent injury to the calf during the five-foot drop it encounters as it’s born, helps prevent it from slipping when taking its first steps, and provides a cushion as the calf learns to walk.
The zoo plans to activate its live streaming birth cam on Tuesday. They also plan to provide weekly updates about Msitu’s pregnancy on Facebook Live.