Adorable Baby Giraffe Debuts at Bronx Zoo

Thursday, Oct 13, 2011  |  Updated 1:07 PM EDT
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Julie Larsen Maher © WCS

Born on September 14, James Marjani is the first giraffe calf born at the Bronx Zoo since February 2009.

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An adorable male Baringo giraffe calf is making its public debut at the Bronx Zoo’s African Plains exhibit.

Born on September 14, James Marjani is the first giraffe calf born at the Bronx Zoo since February 2009. He was about six feet tall at birth and estimated to weigh more than 100 pounds.

As an adult, he could eventually grow to more than 17 feet and weigh close to 4,000 pounds.

The baby was born to mother, Margaret Sukari, and father, James Michael.

The Bronx Zoo names all of its giraffes in memory of Mr. and Mrs. James Carter, benefactors for whom the Carter Giraffe Building is named.

James Marjani's birth brings the total number of giraffes in the herd to eight.

In anticipation of his birth, keepers prepared a stall with a heavy layer of straw bedding to help absorb the impact of the calf’s 6-foot drop from his mother. Keepers kept mom and baby separated from the other giraffes for several days to give them time to bond before slowly introducing them to the rest of the herd.

The new calf will be on exhibit intermittently for the first several weeks he adjusts to his new surroundings. Exhibit times will vary.

The gestation period for a giraffe is 14 to 14.5 months and the baby starts walking within the first few hours of birth. The calf will nurse for about one year, but will begin sampling solid food when three months old. 

Eventually it will transition to a diet of leaves, alfalfa hay, kale, pelleted grain, and produce.

Giraffes are the tallest animal in the world and have an 18-inch-long tongue that they use to grasp branches and pull leaves from trees.

Giraffes are native to grasslands, savannas, and open woodlands in central, east, and southern Africa.

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