NewsLocal News


Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo announces birth of giraffe calf

Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 03, 2021

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium is announcing its newest addition, a giraffe calf.

He was born at the zoo on Saturday to first-time mom Betty Francis. He walked just an hour after being born, and will likely grow about four pounds a day during his first year of life.

Zoo officials say the next step is to slowly introduce the calf to the rest of the herd.

Zoo Baby: Giraffe at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
New giraffe calf at Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium

The little guy doesn't have a name just yet. The zoo plans to auction off naming rights at a fundraiser this fall.

But if you stop by the zoo you can see both mom and baby on display already inside the Syd and Betty Cate Giraffe Herd Room.

Watch our 3 News Now Web Extra on the little guy:

WEB EXTRA: Omaha's Henry Doorly Zoo announces birth of giraffe calf

Watch Tuesday's announcement about the newborn giraffe below or on the 3 News Now Facebook page.

The zoo provided the following information about the calf and the rest of its giraffe population:

Calf Information
  • Born on Saturday, July 31, at 11:03 a.m.
  • Calf stood on its own around 12:03 p.m., about an hour after birth
  • First calf born since April 2019 (Zoe)
  • Mom and the calf are viewable to Zoo guests in the Syd and Betty Cate Giraffe Herd Rooms in a separate area before they will be introduced to the rest of the herd in the upcoming weeks
  • To be named at Zoofari 2021 on Friday, September 10, 2021

  • Calf Parents
    • Mother: Betty Francis
      • 10 years old o First-time mother
      • Weighs about 1800 pounds and stands nearly 15 feet tall
      • Born at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and transferred to Omaha in September 2016
    • Father: Jawara
      • 12 years old
      • Has sired five calves, including this one
      • Weighs about 2250 pounds and stands nearly 16 feet tall
      • Born at Brookfield Zoo and transferred to Omaha in October 2010

  • Zoo’s Giraffe Population
    • 10 giraffes: 1 male, 8 female, and one unidentified calf
    • This is the fourth giraffe calf to be born in the current giraffe barn

  • AZA Giraffe Population
    • As of today, there were 534 giraffes at Association of Zoos and Aquariums accredited institutions, with 61 births in the last 12 months (including this one in Omaha)

  • General Giraffe Facts
    • Gestation period is 15 months
    • Giraffes give birth while standing and the calf is born feet first
    • Calves nurse for about four months and then begin consuming solid food such as hay and pelleted grain
    • Giraffe calves grow at a rapid rate during their first year of life, gaining about three and a half to four pounds per day

  • Conservation
    • In the wild, giraffe numbers have been decreasing rapidly
    • Reticulated Giraffes (Giraffa reticulata) are one of four giraffe species that are listed as endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List with about 11,000 in the wild
    • The Zoo supports giraffe conservation in Africa by partnering with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the only non-governmental organization (NGO) in the world that concentrates their efforts solely on giraffe in the wild across Africa

Download our apps today for all of our latest coverage.

Get the latest news and weather delivered straight to your inbox.