Be thankful for baby giraffes

If you happen to be at Brookfield Zoo today, you’ll get to see a brand new addition.

Five-year-old mother Arnieta and her calf are out and about for the first time since the calf’s birth on November 12. The baby is a healthy male, weighing 140 pounds and standing 6’2″ at birth. There’s no name for the little tyke just yet.

The calf now represents three generations of giraffes at Brookfield. Mother Arnieta is the daughter of 21-year-old Franny, a female who will be sharing the enclosure with her grandchild. He’s also the 58th giraffe born at the zoo.

Naturally, a giraffe birth is quite different from a human’s. When a calf is born, it typically falls about 5 feet from the mother; some biologists liken the impact to a doctor slapping a baby to make it take its first breath. Tough fall aside, the calf stood and began nursing right away. He should reach 18 feet by the time he grows into adulthood.

If you’re visiting the zoo, you can see mother and baby in the Habitat Africa Savannah exhibit.

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