Two male baby giraffes, born April 8 and April 24, were introduced to the rest of the giraffe herd in the Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain habitat. The Serengeti Plain is a 65-acre, naturalistic habitat featuring a diverse population of free-roaming African animals including giraffe, zebra, white rhinoceros, eland antelope and several other species of hoof stock and birds.
Visitors can view the new additions from the Serengeti Express or on a Serengeti Safari, an open-truck tour of the plain.
Baby Akili was born at the Memphis Zoo on Thursday, expanding the zoo’s giraffe family to seven. Although born outside in public view, Akili will be kept inside until the weather warms. She was 6 feet 2 inches tall and weighed 125 lbs at birth.
Scientists have already concluded why the long neck of the giraffe is advantageous: it gives giraffes a higher vantage point to watch out for danger and to reach vegetation. It also provides a large surface area to regulate body temperature.
But the question of how the giraffe’s physiology allows for such a large distance from its heart to its head has been the focus of a new study. For many years, scientists assumed that giraffes’ long necks were made possible by an abnormally large heart that could pump blood two meters up their necks into their heads.
The recent study by Professor Graham Mitchell from the Centre of Wildlife Studies in Onderstepoort, South Africa proves otherwise. His team has found that the giraffe’s heart is actually smaller than the hearts found in similar-sized animals. However, the walls of the heart are much thicker, which makes for a more powerful pump. In this way, a giraffe’s blood pressure is quite high, but it is physically adapted to handle this heightened state.
Yesterday, a baby giraffe was born at the San Francisco Zoo. The calf, sex to be determined, is walking on all fours and following mother Kristin. This is the second baby giraffe born this year at the zoo.
Providence’s Roger Williams Park Zoo welcomed a baby giraffe on December 22nd. Weighing in at around 90-95 pounds and measuring 5’6, the young giraffe will stay with parents Sukari and Griffin for one year before transferring to a different zoo.