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Cameron Park Zoo announces first giraffe birth in 20 years

Cameron Park Zoo giraffe
Cameron Park Zoo giraffe
Posted at 5:12 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 18:12:04-05

WACO, TX — There is a new addition at Cameron Park Zoo!

Penelope, the zoo's female Masai giraffe, gave birth to her first calf on January 22 at 4:02 p.m. The newest giraffe is a boy and came in at 135 pounds and six feet tall.

Penelope was born on May 9, 2013, and came to Cameron Park Zoo from the San Diego Zoo. Her mate, Dane, was born on April 18, 2013, and came from the Santa Barbara Zoo.

This is the first giraffe born in 20 years at Cameron Park Zoo. It is also the first Masai birth.

Zoo officials say Penelope is exhibiting some difficulty in allowing the calf to nurse for extended periods of time. The zoo's Animal Care staff is closely monitoring the calf's health and will provide supportive care if needed.

The zoo has started a naming contest for the new addition. To submit a name, click here. Funds raised will go to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

The Masai giraffe is the largest subspecies of giraffe. They are often found in Central and Southern Kenya and in Tanzania. You can spot a Masai giraffe based on their distinctive, irregular, jagged, star-like blotches that extend to their hooves.

The subspecies is listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. This is primarily due to poaching and habitat fragmentation.

In a few days, the new giraffe will be able to play in the exhibit yard. There, he will meet DJ, the zoo's newest Greater Kudu.

Born on November 14, 2020, DJ's mom is Shani and his dad is the late Damien. DJ can be seen running around the hoof stock yard in the African Savanna with his mom.

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