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Virginia Zoo welcomes baby Masai giraffe


Unique experience for zoo visitors as they were able to see the giraffe give birth

Photo courtesy of Virginia Zoo.

Photo courtesy of Virginia Zoo.

The Virginia Zoo has welcomed a newborn Masai female giraffe calf, named Tisa, born on September 9, 2022. She weighed 122.5 pounds at birth and measured 6’ tall. This marks the ninth calf for mom, Imara, and fifteenth for dad, Billy. Zookeepers named the giraffe Tisa, which means nine in Swahili to signify her unique birthday and the number of her mother’s births.

What’s more, this was a rare occasion as zoo visitors were able to witness the birth which took place in the morning at the giraffe barn. Twenty-four hours after the birth, zoo veterinarian, Tara Reilly, DVM, conducted a neonatal exam along with keepers and veterinary technicians to discover Tisa is healthy. The mother and her calf are bonding and she is nursing well and has began learning to run, according to an organizational release.1

The total giraffe herd at the zoo now consists of 5 members. Billy and Imara’s breeding was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan for Masai giraffes. These giraffes are listed as endangered because of habitat loss and poaching, so each birth is significant.1


Virginia Zoo is on cloud 9 after giraffe birth . News release. Virginia Zoo. September 19, 2022. Accessed September 23, 2022. https://www.avma.org/news/press-releases/avma-membership-surpasses-100000

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