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Giraffe born at OKC Zoo

A baby giraffe was born at the Oklahoma City Zoo early Monday morning, but it's definitely not pint-sized.

The as yet unnamed male stands five feet tall. It's the fifth offspring for 16-year-old mom Ellie and dad Bogy, who died in October from a recurring gastrointestinal ailments.

“Ellie is an experienced, doting mom, and her calf appears healthy and strong,” said Laura Bottaro, Zoological curator. “This calf is special to the Zoo because Ellie became pregnant with Bogy’s offspring before he passed away last year. We are thrilled to welcome his heir and it will be exciting to watch the calf grow up to be a special ambassador of his species, carrying on the legacy of our beloved Bogy.”

The Zoo participates in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, long-term management program designed to maintain genetically viable and geographically stable populations of specific species. Until recently, scientists believed in a single species of giraffe with several subspecies. A genetic analysis completed in 2016, however, indicates four separate species of giraffe.

  The population has declined rapidly in the wild due to illegal poaching and habitat destruction. The Rothschild is the tallest species growing up to 20-feet tall and weighing as much as 2,500 pounds. The median life expectancy for Rothschild’s giraffes is 15 to 16 years of age. The Zoo’s collection of giraffe includes Reticulated, Rothschild’s and hybrid species.

 The new calf joins big sister, Julu, 17-months-old; Bogy’s mom Ursula, 32; and Noel, 28, who was born on Christmas Day, 1988.

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Matt Patterson

Matt Patterson has been with The Oklahoman since 2006. Prior to joining the news staff in 2010, Patterson worked in The Oklahoman's sports department for five years. He previously worked at The Lawton Constitution and The Edmond Sun.... Read more ›