12:17 PM, August 28, 2008

Giraffe_makes_its_debut

Zookeeper Frauke Rauls feeds a 3-week-old female Rothschild giraffe Wednesday during the giraffe's first public appearance at the zoo in Hanover, Germany.

It's been quite a year for baby giraffes -- or at least quite a year for photographers taking pictures of these leggy newborns. In February a photographer captured the debut of another giraffe born in Hanover. Baby giraffes also took bows, if that's the right phrase, at the Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert and, just this week, at the San Diego Zoo. Click away for a gallery of giraffes.

Photo: Holger Hollemann / EPA

1:30 PM, August 23, 2008

Giraffe

The newest giraffe at the San Diego Zoo is less than a week old and already one of the tallest animals at the zoo: five-foot-two-inches and 145 pounds. And destined to get a lot bigger: Female Masai giraffes can top 14 feet. Males can top 18, the tallest land animals on the planet.

Abby, the female calf's mother, was on exhibit when she gave birth Tuesday after a two-hour labor. Within an hour the calf was nursing.

Next: introduction to the rest of the giraffe herd, a slow process. Giraffe are social animals but they like to take their time getting comfortable with new arrivals.

--Tony Perry, in San Diego

Photo: San Diego Zoological Society

2:01 PM, May 29, 2008

New_baby_giraffe_in_palm_desert

The Living Desert Zoo in Palm Desert on Thursday introduced its newborn giraffe to the public.

The as-yet unnamed 6-foot, 139-pound male was born Wednesday to mother Dadisi and her mate, Hesabu, said Liz Hile, curator of animals for The Living Desert.

The baby reticulated giraffe will eventually join its older sibling, Mutombo, on display at the zoo.

Reticulated giraffes, one of nine recognized sub-species native to northeastern Kenya and eastern Sudan, are so named because of their chestnut-colored patches connected by a network of white lines.

The markings, which are believed to help giraffes recognize one another, are analogous to human fingerprints because they are unique. Giraffes grow quickly, as much as three feet in the first six months of life.

Mutombo, born on Sept. 27, 2006, and named after Dikembe Mutombo, a humanitarian and NBA player for the Houston Rockets, is considered one of the zoo's premier attractions, Hile said.

Meanwhile, as seen in this video, another baby giraffe also made its debut recently, this time in Rome:

-- Francisco Vara-Orta

4:43 PM, April 10, 2008

Giraffe_with_mother_2

A baby giraffe with its mother at a zoo in Hanover, northern Germany, this week. It was born Feb. 16 and is already more than feet tall.

Photo: Kai-Uwe Knoth/AP