Baby Giraffe Makes Public Debut

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How could anyone or anything not fall in love with a face like this? One look at this adorable giraffe calf will melt anyone’s heart. He was born on April 28th. At its birth, he weighed 107 pounds, less than the average calf, which is around 135 to 145 pounds. Despite its weight, it was healthy and did not face any threats due to its low birth weight. The only issue that this young calf faced was that its mother was not interested in him, which is not unusual for first time mothers. Thankfully, it was not aggressive towards the calf, as some first time mothers can be; she was just neglectful of the young calf’s need to feed.

After keepers witnessed the mother just walk away from him and many failed attempts by the young calf to feed, it was determined that it was best to remove him from his mother’s care and hand raise him behind-the-scenes. Since giraffe populations are rapidly declining, every birth is very important and great measures are taken to sustain him.

It took a lot of work and great effort by Zoo staff to care for him with the hope that he would one day successfully integrate with the other giraffe, and now he has been integrated with the rest of his tower.  The baby giraffe began its public appearances recently and is now available for viewing every day of the week except during inclement weather.

Thank you to the public for helping us choose his name.  After a two-week voting period and 1,125 votes from Valley residents as well as Gladys Porter Zoo fans around the nation, the baby boy giraffe has been officially named J.C. The name is in memory of Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Gladys Porter Zoo Associate Curator.  It won with over 54 percent of the vote. Other names which were finalists included Jabari, Hasani, Zane, Khari, Al G. and Casey.

It was a landslide victory for the official name, with the other name options garnering 13% or less of the votes. “I remember Juan Carlos started working at the Zoo for a summer program when he was a teenager.  Then, he left for a while only to return in 2001 when I hired him to work with our primate collection.  He eventually worked his way up to become Associate Curator and was completing a degree in Business.  He was one of our homegrown heroes.  Juan Carlos was a dedicated employee that you could always depend on.  He will be missed.” said Jerry Stones, Facilities Director.  Zoo staff members, docents and volunteers provided the initial suggestions for the names, which were narrowed down to seven finalists.

Baby J.C. is currently integrating into the group of seven giraffe that are in the public exhibit and is adjusting well. Stop by the Gladys Porter Zoo to meet him!

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