Abilene Zoo expecting 2-3 giraffe calves

Positive News

ABILENE, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – The Abilene Zoo is excited to announce two giraffe pregnancies, and a possible third pregnancy. All three of the calves could arrive as early as October 2020.

“We have confirmed through various blood tests that two giraffes are expecting,” said Abilene Zoo Veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Carle.

Giraffes Jamie and Punk could give birth as soon as this month. Sunny the giraffe has not allowed zoo staff to confirm her pregnancy through blood testing. If indeed pregnant, she could also give birth as early as October. The zoo’s new adult bull, Congo, is the sire.

Congo arrived at the Abilene Zoo in June 2019 from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and showed interest in the female giraffes during their initial introduction.

“The staff fully integrated Congo into the herd by August 2019,” stated Abilene Zoo General Curator Denise Ibarra. “The staff’s daily welfare checks confirmed Congo’s pursuit of each female and observed traditional courtship behaviors.”

Since discovery of the giraffes’ potential pregnancies in fall 2019, Animal Care Staff has conducted daily monitoring revealing the cessation of each female’s estrous cycle, as well as weight gain. Staff has also continued daily husbandry conditioning to prepare for blood draws and ultrasound training.

“So far, the pregnancies all appear to be progressing well. The vet team is ready to intervene,however necessary. Still, we are hoping for no complications, with healthy babies that do not need our help!” announced Carle.

The Abilene Zoo is proud to be a member of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP) of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).

“Our goal is to increase our herd and to increase the giraffe population,” stated Ibarra. “Any giraffe birth is significant due to the species’ decline in the wild. Africa’s overall giraffe population has decreased by as much as 40% in the last three decades and are now endangered.”

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