June 19, 2008

St. Louis Zoo Welcomes Newborn Giraffe

A crowd of 400 onlookers graciously welcomed a 6-foot tall, 143-pound giraffe to the St. Louis Zoo as he was born, zoo officials say.

Crowds watched as the mother giraffe, named Jessie, safely gave birth to the male calf Saturday at the zoo, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Jessie was pregnant for 15 months before the 5-hour delivery, zoo officials said.

Zoo ungulate curator Martha Fischer said the zoo's other animals are getting used to their new house mate.

They were a little surprised by him, but this birth is very exciting for the animals in the habitat, she said.

Observers said the calf started walking within an hour of his birth.

Everything is brand-spanking new to him right now. He's investigating his world, getting to know his neighbors and his habitat yard and the barn, Fischer said.