At the beginning of the year, at 7 AM on the 8th of January, the Abilene Zoo experienced an extremely happy moment, welcoming a new girl giraffe calf into the world. The baby giraffe is the fourth calf born within a year and the first calf for mother Sunny, who was brought to the Abilene Zoo in 2016 for the launch of the Giraffe Safari.
However, the happy event was not without issues, being necessary for the calf to receive a transfusion with plasma in order survive. Because the calf did not nurse in the first 24 hours, as it was expected and necessary for the development of its antibodies, the veterinary team of the zoo asked for the support of other giraffe specialists for support. The solution they came up with proved to be very efficient for the calf. The plasma transfusions were done with the support of the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, which provided the giraffe plasma they were storing.
Fortunately, the baby giraffe is now doing well know, reaching approximately 7’ tall and 200 lbs (almost 91 kilograms) in weight. After the transfusion, the calf began to nurse from its mother, thus entering the normal trajectory for its growth and development. So far, the baby giraffe and his mother were kept off of any exhibition, in order for both of them to have enough time to recover and bond with each other.
At the beginning of this week, the giraffe calf was introduced to the other giraffes in the Abilene Zoo herd, giving them time to get to know and accept each other. At the same time, before presenting the baby of the herd to the public, the staff of the zoo named it Malaika. The herd has two more calves, named Cha Tatu and Mtumushi, which are both under 4 months of age. Once the herd is familiarized with the new “additions”, which is estimated to happen within a couple of weeks, the public will be allowed to come and visit them at the Abilene Zoo’s Giraffe Safari.