Dallas Zoo’s viral star giraffe calf doing great

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: , , , | 38 Comments

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

  1. Margaret

    First, I want to say a huge “thank you” to all involved with the Katie Cam. To have observed the miracle of this little giraffe’s entry into a world that is obviously not kind to giraffes, was a wonderful experience. And I am still very much watching (and taking photos of) the giraffes in the barn at your zoo. (I do some digital scrapping and wonder if there would be any objections to me using some of my photos in challenges on a scrap website?)

    I have been wondering if there are other pregnant giraffe cows in the herd.

    Also, it would be most interesting to see how the animals are handled as they are moved from one area to another either in multiples or one at a time. For example, I wondered how you got Katie back into the birthing stall yesterday.

    I hope to see more great events happening at the Dallas Zoo and for sure the only way that is going to happen is by webcam or similar 😉

  2. Julie

    Loved watching! Thanks for sharing! Harrison was awesome too!! Hope you’ll consider making the webcams a permanent part of the giraffe area so we can watch this little one grow up, as we’re all pretty invested now that we watched her birth!

  3. linda johnson

    Thank you so much for the wonderful experience of watching Katie give birth to her sweet baby. It was AMAZING!!!

  4. Debbie

    Hi!! As a Veterinary Assistant of 25 years, of course I love animals. LOVED the coverage of Katie’s birthing! Thank you Dallas Zoo and Animal Planet.
    I’d love to participate in naming the new baby. Have a great name in mind! 🙂
    Please let us know how to do that.
    Thanks so much!
    Deb

  5. Thank you so very much for this, we watched it Friday night as it was happening and we watched it again Saturday night. It was truly amazing – thank you again

  6. Have been watching since Wednesday! Remarkable to see. Thoroughly enjoyed it. Hope Katie and baby continue to do well. Thanks.

  7. paula

    if its a boy here is a suggestion first 2 letters te from dad name last 2 letters ka moms name to get TEKA Teka is of African origin. Teka meaning, popularity

  8. Shelley

    my daughters name is Katie and her daughter is named Tatum. Tatum would be a GREAT name for her calf either girl or boy !!

  9. Sheryl

    Thank you for this opportunity to share in this experience. My whole family is fascinated and what a great learning tool for our small children. You guys are doing a wonderful job.

  10. Nancy

    Congrats !!!…Katie did such a great job, cant wait to follow the progress of this little calf..wishing “it” many healthy years to come @ :)…thanks for the opportunity for allowing cams to see its birth and progress. !!

  11. Mary Mieth

    Hello to all. I think you all are amazing along with Katie the baby & Animal Planet. I still think the baby should have a name like Al or Ali for being first Animal planet Live. But still have not been able to stop watching. Thanks for the one an first time opportunity Dalles Zoo.

  12. Patricia

    Yall did an amazing job with katie and the baby such an awsome experience to see

  13. Aileen Kane

    Another name suggestion from UStream viewers:
    Afia, girl’a name and it means ‘born on Friday’ which this precious one was! 🙂
    Thanks for letting all of us watch! We’re in love with her!

  14. Larry Stuart

    Loved watching the birth and live camera feed of the new giraffe! Thank you!

  15. Tavia Siler

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful and exciting event with us! My mom was a HUGE giraffe lover as she was 6′ tall and always related to the tall, elegant animals. When she was in the final stages of her 6 1/2 year battle with ovarian cancer, she asked for her “friends”…her giraffe stuffed animals. I had gotten her most recent acquisition, one my daughter and I purchased at the Phoeniz Zoo. As she passed away, her hand rested on this giraffe and she felt at peace. All of my moms giraffes are now permanent residents of my home and I have become a fan too. They watch over me in my moms place and I’m constantly reminded of the strength and the beauty they carry in every fiber of their beings. I will always thing of Katie’s baby as Georgia, for that is what I would name her in honor of the most beautiful, strong, courageous woman I’ve ever known.

  16. 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!

  17. Elizabeth Burrell

    Baby girl name

    African Dayo means Joy arrives.

  18. Virginia griggs

    I vote for Ginny the Giraffe or Cary, or Savannah or Sadie

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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.

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

  23. 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.

  24. Kris Van Sice

    Thank you so very much for sharing such an amazing moment! I came across this by accident, then went right away to follow Katie and her beautiful calf on FB! They are both such a joy to watch and I’m excited to help take part in her naming!! Looking forword to many pictures and updates in the future! Thanks again!

  25. these are amazing creatures that god
    created & Beautiful.

  26. Robert Mossman

    I truly enjoyed watching Katie give birth to her new little girl live, Waiting patiently for her to stand and walk those first hesitant steps. We should consider naming her Katrina Because the first thing she did in life is hit our country hard, and immediately made the whole country notice that she was here !

  27. Patricia H

    Katie”s little girl could be named April. A soft, lovely name for a beautiful spring baby!

  28. Jennifer Oelklaus

    I love being able to watch Katie and her new baby. I have always been facinated by giraffes and genuinely appreciate being able to be able to watch not only the birth but how the growing up process starts. This is a truely amazing opportunity and I am grateful for all the work that went into allowing us to be able to get a glimpse into their world! ^_^

  29. Roxy Boerman

    Aww!!! Please If Its A Girl, Name It Savanna, If It’s A Boy, Name It George

    😀 I Thought Those Names Were SO Cute!!

  30. Roxy Boerman

    Aww!!! Please If Its A Girl, Name It Savanna, If It’s A Boy, Name It George

    😀 I Thought Those Names Were SO Cute!!!

  31. Rashell

    Name her Ayame

  32. Patsy

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

  33. 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.

  34. 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! 🙂

  35. 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.

  36. 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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