Reticulated giraffe born at Great Plains Zoo

This reticulated giraffe calf was born recently at the Great Plains Zoo in Sioux Falls, S.D. (Photo courtesy of Great Plains Zoo)At more than 5 feet tall, the newest arrival at the Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is head and shoulders above the others, zoo officials said recently in a press release.

The Zoo’s 11-year-old Reticulated Giraffe "Libby" recently gave birth to her third calf, a female weighing 155 pounds. The Zoo’s animal care staff monitored the birth from the lobby of the Giraffe Barn, and remotely through video cameras.

After a 15-month gestation, giraffes give birth standing up, and the calves drop about six feet to the ground. The fall doesn’t hurt the calf; it just causes it to take a breath. After about an hour, the calf can stand up and walk.

"Every birth at the Zoo is exciting, and a baby giraffe is certainly special," said Elizabeth A. Whealy, president and CEO of the Great Plains Zoo. "We look forward to watching her grow from a newborn into a graceful adult roaming the Zoo’s African Savannah."

At present, the calf and her mother can be seen at the Giraffe Barn. In the coming months, they will be viewable on the Zoo’s African Savannah.

The Great Plains Zoo and Delbridge Museum of Natural History is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. with the last admission at 6 p.m. Visit the Zoo online at www.greatzoo.org or call 605-367-7003 for more information about the Zoo and Museum.

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Seth Tupper

Seth Tupper was born and raised in South Dakota and earned a bachelor's degree in journalism from South Dakota State University in 2001. After college, he worked at a newspaper in Minnesota and then returned to South Dakota in 2003 to join the staff of The Daily Republic in Mitchell, where he is currently the publisher. Seth has won numerous awards for his writing, including the 2007 Outstanding Young Journalist award in the daily newspapers category of the South Dakota Newspaper Association's Better Newspapers Contest. Seth's day-job and freelance work have granted him opportunities to meet hundreds of South Dakotans and travel across much of the state. He also spends a lot of his free time exploring South Dakota's state and national parks, hiking trails and kayak-friendly rivers.

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