(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s (CMZoo) ten-year-old reticulated giraffe, Bailey, is in active labor with her second calf. CMZoo says the giraffe barn will remain closed for the time being.
Records show that Baliey bred with giraffe bull, Khalid, on June 9, 2021. Giraffe pregnancies typically range between 14 and 16 months, according to CMZoo. Bailey hit her 15-month mark on Oct. 19, 2022.
CMZoo has a herd of 16 reticulated giraffes. The newborn calf would be the 17th addition to CMZoo’s herd.
“Giraffe calves can be fragile, so we try to encourage people to be realistic about the risks while they enjoy the excitement of the hope we know giraffe calves bring to so many,” said Jason Bredahl, African Rift Valley animal care manager. “We’re optimistic that advances in medicine, like the availability of giraffe plasma and stem cell treatments, will help us navigate any medical needs the calf may have.”
In anticipation of the birth, Bailey was moved to a sand-floor stall, separate from the rest of the herd, for the well-being of both her and the calf. She was moved on Sept. 19, the earliest CMZoo believed Bailey would go into labor. The sand is expected to prevent injury to the calf upon impact after an expected five-foot drop as the baby is born. The more absorbent substrate will act as a cushion as the baby learns to walk and will help prevent slips during its first steps, says CMZoo.
Bailey was born at Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium in Omaha, Nebraska in March 2012. She moved to CMZoo on a breeding recommendation in Sept. 2016. CMZoo’s breeding program began in 1954 and has welcomed more than 200 calves since its inception.