Meet the new baby giraffe at Santa Barbara Zoo
Two endangered Masai giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo are pregnant, the zoo announced on Tuesday.
Both females are pregnant by the zoo’s adult male Masai giraffe, Michael, the zoo said.
Adia, the younger female, is 5 years old, and her baby is due in April 2020. This is Adia’s first pregnancy.
The older female, Audrey, is due in July 2020. The 11-year-old giraffe previously had four calves with Michael, most recently Amirah, who was born in March 2018.
The pregnancy announcement comes just three weeks after the International Union for Conservation of Nature declared Masai giraffes as endangered.
“The number of Masai giraffe in the wild is significantly declining, and the population under human care here in the U.S. is relatively small,” Julie Barnes, the zoo’s vice president of animal health and care, said in the news release. “Every single giraffe born at the zoo helps keep their species genetically diverse and thriving.”
Most of the calves born at the zoo have gone on to other zoos: Audrey’s previous three calves have ended up at the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, the Oregon Zoo and the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, respectively.
In the wild, young giraffes often leave the herd they are born into to breed, so calves born at the Santa Barbara Zoo are moved to different zoos in order to “maximize genetic diversity,” Barnes said in the release.
The exception is Amirah, though zoo officials said they anticipate that she will soon move to another zoo as part of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums breeding program.
There are currently an estimated 35,000 Masai giraffes remaining in the wild, in Kenya and Tanzania, according to National Geographic.
The population of Masai giraffes has fallen by 50 percent in the last 30 years, the zoo said.