PALM DESERT (CNS) - A 150-pound bundle of baby giraffe joy was debuted today at the Living Desert zoo after its mother gave birth last week.
The 6-foot-1-inch female giraffe is the eighth calf for its 18-year- old mother, Dadisi, who has lived at the zoo since 2002.
She was born in the early morning hours on March 20 -- the first day of spring.
The birth of the calf follows the heartbreaking December death of Hebasu an 18-year-old male that sired the newborn, officials said.
“The Living Desert fondly remembers Hesabu with the birth of this calf,” said Living Desert Director of Animal Care RoxAnna Breitigan. “Hesabu's legacy will continue to live on through his offspring, helping to build connections with our guests and fostering appreciation for the natural world.”
The 18-year-old Hebasu -- euthanized in December -- was one of the oldest male giraffes in human care, according to zoo officials.
Dadisi and her unnamed calf bonded and are doing well, officials said last week. The newborn's exam showed all her vital signs are normal.
Giraffe gestation is usually about five months and the calf is expected to nurse for up to 12 months, zoo officials said. The baby should double its size in the first year of life.
The zoo is home to nine giraffes, five males and four females.
Giraffes are listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as vulnerable with population declines up to 40 percent over the past 30 years, according to zoo officials.
Fewer than 100,000 of the native southern and eastern African species live in the wild.