Giraffe twins born at San Francisco Zoo; Smaller calf dies

The San Francisco Zoo is celebrating and mourning a rare event -- the birth of twin giraffes.

Twin male giraffe calves were born at 8:30 a.m. on Tuesday to an 11-year-old giraffe.

The stronger calf was born at approximately 100 pounds and 5'6" tall and was immediately healthy, alert, and nursing. The second calf was much smaller and weak at birth and was not able to nurse or function independently on his own.

Despite the great efforts made by Zoo medical staff and consulting experts, his post-birth complications became untreatable and he passed away on Thursday afternoon.

Twin reticulated giraffe births are extremely rare, in fact, this is only the tenth recorded live birth of both twins in zoos worldwide. The calf's mother is 11-year-old Bititi, who was born at the Oakland Zoo and made the journey across the bay to live at the San Francisco Zoo in 2005.

This is the fourth pregnancy for Bititi. The calves' father is 12-year-old Floyd, who was born in Albuquerque at the Rio Grande Zoo.

"This is a bitter-sweet announcement to make, but this very unique twin birth is something for all of the Bay Area to take pride in," San Francisco Zoo President Tanya Peterson said. "We hope everyone will come share their best wishes with Bititi and give a warm welcome to our newest resident."
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