The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed an adorable new addition to their family on Wednesday morning. 

The Zoo’s 42nd giraffe calf was born at 5:40 a.m., weighing in at a whopping 187 lbs and standing 6’4” tall.

Zookeepers monitoring the overnight cameras noticed birth activity around 4:30 a.m. so they rushed to supervise the birth and make sure everything progressed smoothly. Zoo staff were watching when the calf first stood up and were excited to see healthy nursing behavior.

The Zoo says that many may remember that an older male giraffe, Duke, who passed away in December 2018 from age-related degenerative disease. At the time of his death, keepers hoped that one or two of the females in the herd were pregnant. As it turns out, Naomi was!

The birth of this baby is a touching tribute to the high-profile bull who was so well-known by the Jacksonville community. This special calf is his 18th offspring. Zoo officials expect the pair to be on exhibit with the rest of the herd by the weekend.

The calf has not yet been named.

Jacksonville Zoo
Jacksonville Zoo