By Danielle Chavira

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – Msitu, a 10-year-old reticulated giraffe at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, started going into labor on Saturday morning. She gave birth at around 1:20 p.m.

This is Msitu’s third calf. The following details about the calf were provided by the zoo.

  • The sex of the baby has not been confirmed.
  • The calf appears to be about six feet tall.
  • The calf was born at 1:20 p.m. MDT.
  • First steps were taken at 1:55 p.m. MDT.
  • The calf nursed for the first time at 3:17 p.m. MDT.

Emy, born in 2013, now resides at Peoria Zoo in Peoria, Ill. Rae, born in 2017, remains with the herd in Colorado Springs.

She and Khalid bred on April 4, 2018. Pregnancies for reticulated giraffes typically last 14-15 months, so Msitu’s due date was approximately June 4.

On Friday, Msitu remained with the herd outside in the main yard. She then moved to the sand stall at night.

In May, crews said they built a sand stall for mom and baby. The material gives the baby somewhere soft to land and keeps the area dry.

“The sand helps mom and baby in a few ways: by preventing injury to the calf upon the five-foot drop it encounters as it’s born, by providing a more absorbent substrate that helps prevent slips for the baby’s first steps, and by providing a cushion for the calf as it learns to walk and inevitably stumbles,” officials said.

The average birth height of a giraffe is 5 1/2 to 6 feet, and the average birth weight is 87-107 pounds.

All the calves stay with the herd in the beginning. A geneticist with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums determines if the calves have valuable genetics and therefore should be moved to another accredited zoo.

The zoo has 15 reticulated giraffes in their herd. Officials addressed the misdiagnosed pregnancy of Laikipia, which they say was actually an ovarian cyst — which is not a fatal condition.

Giraffe Laikipia (Cheyenne Mountain Zoo)

Last year, the zoo was hit with tragedy after Penny, a calf born in 2018, was euthanized after falling several times and dislocating a hip.

RELATED: Veterinarians Make Difficult Decision To Euthanize Penny The Giraffe

Danielle Chavira


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