Dallas Zoo’s viral star giraffe calf doing great

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Katie and baby giraffeThe new giraffe calf that made his/her debut in front of millions of adoring fans on Animal Planet is doing well this morning, enthralling viewers worldwide by testing out new legs, running through mom Katie’s legs and nursing frequently.

The calf is active, nursing, running and playing, and left the maternity stall for a few minutes while zookeepers cleaned up and put out fresh grain and branches for Katie. The calf also has nursed often, and Katie is remaining very calm and patient with the little one. Dallas Zoo keepers are explaining the process on social media, sharing information such as that giraffe nursings are very short, with an average of just 66 seconds.

Saturday night, Animal Planet is airing a one-hour special about the unprecedented simulcast event and the months of preparation that lead to the successful birth. The special will premiere at 8 p.m. CDT, with an encore airing to follow at 10 p.m. CDT.

The calf’s birth caught the attention of animal-lovers worldwide after the Dallas Zoo and Animal Planet launched the joint project, GIRAFFE BIRTH LIVE CAM to show the birth live on the Animal Planet L!VE streaming video site. The coverage of Katie’s delivery required six months of planning and nearly two months of camera and wiring installations. The social streams of the zoo (@DallasZoo) and Animal Planet (@AnimalPlanet) have been inundated with fans using the hashtags #GiraffeBirthLive and #TeamKatie.

Online viewers have so far watched over 1.5 million live video streams since the cameras launched and many more tuned in after Animal Planet aired the birth live on-air, narrated by the Dallas Zoo’s Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections.

Katie went into labor just before 5 p.m. yesterday and delivered the healthy calf less than an hour later. Edell calmly took viewers through the drama of the live birth, describing the events, checking in with the zoo’s veterinary team and teaching about the threats the magnificent animals face in the wild. Mirroring viewers’ excitement, he captured the staff’s elation during milestones such as when the calf opened its eyes; tried several times to stand; began to walk; and began to nurse. One of the most popular moments during the live broadcast was when the other members of the zoo’s giraffe herd all poked their heads over the wall of the maternity stall to check in on the birth.giraffe baby 9

Sunday morning between 9:30-10 a.m., the webcast cameras will be on standby for approximately half an hour while the Dallas Zoo veterinary team conducts its first well-baby checkup. The calf’s gender will be known after that checkup. A name will be chosen after that time from African-themed recommendations from Katie’s keepers.

“We love having this type of platform to share this incredible event,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and chief executive officer. “To be able to share this with so many people around the world is very special. We couldn’t be prouder of our staff and, of course, of Katie!”

“Wherever amazing things are happening in the animal world – that’s where Animal Planet wants to be. Without a doubt the epicenter for this over the last several days has been Dallas, and we can’t thank our hosts at the Dallas Zoo enough,” said Marjorie Kaplan, president of Animal Planet, TLC and Velocity. “We are so thrilled to have played a part in the beautiful shared moment of the birth of Katie’s calf. The overwhelming interest in this amazing event goes to show the transcendent appeal of natural beauty in the modern world.”

The calf’s father is Tebogo, one of the most popular giraffes at the Dallas Zoo. Katie has one previous calf, Jamie, who was born in 2011. Jamie remains with the 13-member Dallas Zoo herd, which roams the award-winning Giants of the Savanna habitat. The Dallas Zoo is the only zoo in the United States to allow giraffes and elephants to mingle with each other, alongside zebra, impala, guineafowl and other African species.

A reticulated giraffe, Katie is one of approximately 4,700 who remain, down from an estimated 31,000 in 1998, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Through the Species Survival Plan, zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums – including the Dallas Zoo – have built programs dedicated to appropriate breeding for genetic diversity.

Categories: Africa, Conservation, Giraffe, Media, Social Media, Veterinary Care, Zookeepers | Tags: , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Dallas Zoo’s viral star giraffe calf doing great

  1. Marilyn Peretti

    I am happy to see the descriptions of the nursing here. I see it is for very short periods of time. It seems Mom walks away from here so often when she tries to nurse, but I believe we just can’t see the reality on the small screen. Thank goodness she’s getting her nourishment! She must be, since she is joyfully skipping about the room frequently. Fabulous!

  2. Abby

    I HAVE THE PERFECT NAME!! No really, I do!!

    Her name is Maybelline. Because she’s born with it!

    Love,
    Abby, animal lover for life

  3. Dianne Tully

    It has meant so much to me on watching the live feed from Kate giving birth. Please keep us updated as I am following her each day.
    Thank you for such a wonderful experience.
    Dianne tully

  4. Roberta Hartley

    So excited about the new baby giraffe! Can you name her Jordan, can call her Jordy, after Jordan Spieth. Lots of good news for Dallas.

  5. Please name the giraffe ” Mary Hart” ! Her leggs were insured for $2million dollars, longest running entertainment magazine host on record !

  6. Susan Smith and Niko

    Hi. I am 3 1/2 years old. I watched Katie give birth to her baby girl. That was so exciting. Tell Katie i said “hi and congratulations! “. I can’t wait to hear her name. Someday i hope i can come visit Katie. Let us know how she is doing.

  7. Patsy

    She is beautiful!! Name her “Sweet Sassy”. In her picture she has that Sassy look but innocent and sweet.

  8. Sarah

    It has been a complete joy to check on Katie and her little one every day this week. This “babycam” truly is something special. I feel wonderful watching her in her first few days. The team is truly devoted and loves their babies. I happened to be watching live during the gender reveal. The staff couldn’t be more excited if they tried.

  9. Lyv'

    I follow animal planet on Facebook, clicked on a linked with the live birth, came home from work on a Friday and saw Katie gave birth and fell in love since! I was jet lagged and they kept me entertained at night and day….I live in Houston, and I will try to visit them one of these days. I applaud the zookeepers. This has been so heartwarming…I have greatly been attached to them, Thank you Dallas Zoo & Animal Planet! I wish that the webcam stays on for months at a time.
    Great job! But I am sure you all already know that since a lot of us have been following the two.It has been very educational. I will donate to the giraffes funds.I hope they don’t become extinct.

    • Lydia Jennings

      Thank you for the kind words and for donating to wildlife conservation! If you’re in Houston, then you MUST come visit us! 🙂

  10. Elise

    I’m in love with Kip. I have watched her everyday since birth and she puts a smile on my face. I saw the staff do a dance this morning and thought that was great. Y’all rock! Best zoo and staff.

  11. Pipsmom

    Thanks for allowing the public to participate in Kips birth! The last think I saw was someone holding a sign that said “vote for Kip’s home” What does this mean? I she being separated from her mom? Moving to another zoo?

    • Lydia Jennings

      Hi! No, she’s not going anywhere. Our Giants of the Savanna exhibit, where the giraffes live, was nominated by USA Today as a “Best Zoo Exhibit” so we were asking voters to get us to No. 1! We landed at No. 3 in the end!

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