TULSA, Okla. (July 23, 2018) – The Tulsa Zoo is proud to announce its latest addition, a giraffe calf born at 4:43 p.m. on Sunday, July 22, to mom Lexi and dad Hekaya. Lexi and her to-be-named calf are doing well, spending time bonding.
“The calf was active immediately, and within two hours stood and began nursing, all of which are excellent signs in such a short time period,” says Zoological Curator-Mammals Jordan Piha.
The labor, birth and hours that followed were monitored by animal care and health staff, Piha says. Keepers remained on-grounds overnight to monitor the new mother and calf, a standard practice with mammal births at the zoo. The first newborn examination comes Tuesday, if mom allows, during which time staff will check the calf from head to tail to ensure good health.
The Tulsa Zoo announced the pregnancy on World Giraffe Day, June 21. The zoo also at that time announced completion of a million-dollar giraffe barn renovation. The Osage Casino Hotel Giraffe Barn provides more than double the indoor space, improved facilities for staff to manage a multigenerational herd, and year-round viewing for guests.
The zoo is temporarily closing access to the barn’s new public viewing area, however, to give Lexi and calf privacy. Guests can view the pair from the Mary K. Chapman Giraffe Experience viewing deck or other exhibit viewing areas.
Hekaya and herd mate Pili, a nine-year-old female, will be able to examine the new calf from the main yard. This temporary separation allows time for the calf to grow and learn to maneuver a smaller space before moving to the larger habitat with the adults, Piha says.