MEMPHIS, TENN. - The pitter patter of little hooves can be heard at the Giraffe Exhibit at the Memphis Zoo.
Around 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, "Marilyn," a 19-year-old reticulated giraffe, gave birth to "Maliki," a baby girl weighing 115 pounds. This is the fourth calf for Marilyn, and the sixth sired by "Kenya." This addition brings the Zoo's giraffe herd to a total of nine. Maliki is the sixth baby giraffe in seven years.
"Marilyn is a great, experienced mother," says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. "We're always excited about the birth of a healthy baby, but I'm especially pleased because Maliki inherited her mother's beautiful coloring. She has her mother's dark face, which is something the other calves haven't had."
Baby Maliki and her mother, Marilyn, have already been out on exhibit. She will be spending short amounts of time on exhibit between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., however, due to cold temperatures, the Zoo's animal staff will continue to rotate them on and off exhibit.
Reticulated giraffes give birth standing, and are one of the few animals born with horns on their heads. This is to protect them from a 6-foot fall to the ground at birth. Reticulated giraffes are native to Africa and can grow between 15 and 17 feet tall. Females weigh around 2,500 pounds, while males weigh around 3,500.
About the Memphis Zoo's Giraffes
The Memphis Zoo is home to three adult reticulated giraffes, Marilyn, Kenya and "Serabi." All three of the adults, as well as their offspring, can be found at in the Giraffe exhibit in the African Veldt. The Memphis Zoo has kept reticulated giraffes in the collection since August 1957.
Marilyn, the female, was moved to the Zoo in November of 2002. Kenya, the father of all six of the babies at the Memphis Zoo, was transferred from the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in 2005. He is 15 years old.In the wild, reticulated giraffes live in loose herds, constructed of family groups. These groups can range from five to 15 members. The gestation period for a reticulated giraffe is 15 months.
About the Memphis Zoo
The Memphis Zoo, located in Memphis, Tenn., is home to more than 3,500 animals representing over 500 different species. Recently named as one of the top zoos in the country by TripAdvisor(r), the Memphis Zoo has completed over $93 million in renovation and expansion since the early 1990s. The Zoo's animal inhabitants reside in one-of-a-kind exhibitry, such as Once Upon A Farm, Commercial Appeal Cat Country, Primate Canyon, Animals of the Night, Northwest Passage, Teton Trek and CHINA - home to giant pandas YaYa and Le Le. The Zoo was founded in 1906 and resides on 70 acres in the middle of Overton Park. The Memphis Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. Memphis Zoo, YaYa and Le Le are trademarks of the Memphis Zoo.###