Greenville Zoo's giraffe will have 1st baby this summer - FOX Carolina 21

Greenville Zoo's giraffe will have 1st baby this summer

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The Greenville Zoo's first pregnant giraffe grazes. (Courtesy The Greenville Zoo) The Greenville Zoo's first pregnant giraffe grazes. (Courtesy The Greenville Zoo)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The Greenville Zoo announced Thursday that its 6-year-old giraffe will give birth sometime this summer, a first for the zoo.

Zoo veterinarians confirmed the pregnancy earlier this year through hormone analysis and will continue to monitor Autumn's progress through her 15-month gestation period.

Autumn is a Masai giraffe who is on a breeding loan from the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston since 2007, to be paired with the zoo's male giraffe, Walter, 7, who is from the San Diego Zoo.

"We were hoping to keep it a secret for a bit longer, but some things are just too big to hide," said Greenville Zoo director Jeff Bullock. "As this is Autumn's first pregnancy, there is a bit of anxiety and excitement that comes along with such a momentous occasion. The staff is hard at work preparing for the first of what we hope to be many giraffe births here at the Greenville Zoo."

Bullock said the zoo will proceed cautiously as this is Autumn's first calf, and they want to do everything possible to make sure all goes well for Autumn and her baby.

Giraffes give birth while standing, and the baby is born hooves-first. A newborn calf can weigh between 120 and 150 pounds and stand 6-feet-tall at birth.

Newborns will usually take its first steps within an hour of its birth, and giraffes are one of the few animals born with horns on their heads.

The Masai giraffe, also known as the Kilimanjaro giraffe, is the largest of the nine giraffe subspecies.

Giraffes have life spans of up to 25 years in the wild and often longer in zoos. They grow up to 19-feet-tall and weigh more than 3,000 pounds.

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