COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A 10-year-old giraffe at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is pregnant and expected to give birth within two months, officials said Tuesday.
Various blood tests, behavioral indicators and examinations by experts confirmed the reticulated giraffe is about 13 1/2 months pregnant.
“Msitu has given birth to two healthy calves, so we are cautiously optimistic about the viability of this calf,” said Jason Bredahl, the African Rift Valley animal care manager at the zoo.
Zoo records show Msitu bred with Khalid on April 4, 2018. With giraffe pregnancies typically ranging from 14 to 15 months, the birth could come on or about June 4.
The zoo is having a contest to guess the date of the birth. The winner will get a free behind-the-scenes experience with the giraffe herd for up to four people.
“Giraffe calves can be fragile, so we try to encourage people to be realistic about the risks while they enjoy the excitement of the hope we know giraffe calves bring to so many,” Bredahl said.
“We’re optimistic that advances in medicine, like the availability of giraffe plasma and stem cell treatments, will help us navigate any medical needs the calf may have.”
In anticipation of the birth, Msitu will be moved to a sand stall next week. The zoo also plans to activate a “birth cam” on Tuesday so fans can watch.
Msitu gave birth to Emy in August 2013 and to Rae in April 2017. Emy lives at the Peoria Zoo in Peoria, Illinois. Rae is the youngest member of the herd at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.
The birth of the calf would bring the number of reticulated giraffes at Cheyenne Mountain to 16. Reticulated giraffes are endangered, with just more than 11,000 mature animals in the wild.