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Hogle Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe

The Hogle Zoo welcomed a new baby giraffe last week. Baby Willow was born on January 13, measuring about 6 feet tall and weighing 125 pounds. The zoo now has five giraffes in its herd. 

Zookeepers say the mother, 13-year-old Pogo, is protective and attentive to her baby, who needs to nurse about once every hour during her first six months of life.

Giraffes normally grow about 4 feet in their first year. Giraffe keeper Lisa Ellison says Willow has already grown since being born.

“She’s only grown like an inch or two because her ossicones, or her horns on her head, are now up rather than down. So she grew an inch,” she says.

Keepers say Willow will not be able to go outside until temperatures climb into the 50s. A heated enclosure on the new Savannah exhibit at the zoo will ensure there’s no snow or ice on the ground, so zookeepers say she could step outside as early as March.

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Credit Hogle Zoo

Though giraffes aren’t threatened or endangered, their populations in the wild are decreasing. Ellison says a loss of habitat is one reason. Overhunting by natives is another.

“You know, if you’ve got a hungry family and you need to feed a family, a giraffe is a lot of meat. And then they’ll use the tail hairs to make jewelry, so they can sell jewelry,” says Ellison

Willow will stay with her parents at the Hogle Zoo until she is about 18 months old, when keepers say she will most likely be moved to another zoo.

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