Oakland Zoo's baby giraffe to make debut

"Maggie" seen up close, just days after her birth at the Oakland Zoo. (Photo: Nancy Filippi)

February 1, 2012 2:19:13 PM PST
The Oakland Zoo is welcoming the first female giraffe to be born at the zoo in nearly a decade, zoo officials said.

The zoo announced Tuesday that a baby reticulated giraffe, "Maggie," was born around 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 12 to parents "Twiga" and "Mabusu." She weighed 80 pounds and stood 72 inches tall.

Maggie will make her public debut on Thursday, a few days before the zoo will host giraffe experts from around the world at a conference for the International Association of Giraffe Care Professionals, which takes place from Feb. 6 to Feb. 9.

The zoo has also teamed up with the Reticulated Giraffe Research Project, based at the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, in which researchers study conservation issues facing the species.

According to zoo officials, giraffes give birth standing to allow the baby to drop 4 to 5 feet, which encourages the baby to start breathing. Within the first hour after birth, baby giraffes can stand and walk. The Oakland Zoo is located at 9777 Golf Links Road in Oakland.