Akilah, Tessa, and Kimba at the Cincinnati Zoo (Feb. 2009)
We had a tragic event at the Zoo last November. One of their three Massai giraffes, a 12-foot-tall three-year-old female named Akilah, had gotten her horns caught in some netting designed to protect young trees in their enclosure. Apparently the stress of the event caused Akilah’s heart to fail, and she was found dead shortly afterwards in a sitting position. Akilah was the most popular of the three giraffes, the first to run forward to the children at daily feeding times. Moreover, her death came less than a month after a baby Rhino died at the zoo shortly after its birth. Our zoo is a major local institution, drawing well over a million visitors each year, and the losses were mourned in the community at large.
Then, quite remarkably, the two remaining giraffes, 4-year-old Tessa and 3-year-old Kimba, produced a new six-foot-tall baby yesterday morning just in time for spring. The calf was born at 9:40 a.m., started trying to stand at 10:00, and successfully nursed at 11:10. It was the first giraffe birth at our zoo in 26 years. Mother and daughter are both doing well. Because they’re being given a high level of privacy during this bonding period, staff still don’t know the sex of the baby. Zoo director Thayne Maynard said, “It’s been a long time, but well worth the wait. Just when you think you have seen it all, something truly amazing like this comes along (and) reminds me how special nature truly is.” Amen.
P.S. Here are some first day photos of Tessa and her yet to be named baby.
Tessa, Kimba, & Baby (Apr. 2, 2011)
-Gayle C (4-3): Very cool. What a story :))). LOL