Rocket, a beloved giraffe at the Gladys Porter Zoo, became a mother for the first time; she gave birth to a calf on February 23rd. The male calf was born on exhibit but was placed behind-the-scenes in a private barn to bond with mom. He is now ready to launch into visitors’ hearts and can be seen on exhibit with the rest of the herd.
Despite this being Rocket’s first calf, she has stepped right into her new role with ease. Curator of Mammals, Walter Dupree, states, “First time mothers are often nervous and unsure how to raise an infant. This can be a serious concern for any newborn, and we are monitoring any behavior from Rocket that may cause an issue for her calf. Fortunately, Rocket has been a very diligent mom, bonding with her infant immediately. It’s heartwarming to see one of our ‘babies’ become a mom and a very good mom at that.”
Reticulated giraffes are listed as Endangered by the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Their biggest threats in the wild include habitat loss and poaching. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, there are approximately 15,950 reticulated giraffes left in the wild and their numbers continue to decline.