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Local News

Santa Barbara Zoo Welcomes Birth of Second Giraffe Calf in Four Months

Newest arrival, a 6-foot-4 female named Asha, could be on exhibit as early as next week

Betty Lou, a Masai giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, tends to her calf, which was born early Saturday.
Betty Lou, a Masai giraffe at the Santa Barbara Zoo, tends to her calf, which was born early Saturday. (Santa Barbara Zoo photo)

Santa Barbara Zoo veterinarians conducted a physical examination Sunday on the latest addition to their Masai giraffe herd.

Betty Lou, one of two female giraffes at the zoo, gave birth to the calf at 1:55 a.m. Saturday, said Sheri Horiszny, the zoo’s director of animal programs.

“It is nursing normally, is in the barn with its mother, and will remain there for a few days,” Horiszny said.

The birth was the second in four months at the zoo.

The zoo announced Sunday afternoon that the calf is female and has been named Asha (which means “life” in Swahili).

She is 6 feet, 4 inches tall, and weighed in at 182 pounds.

In November, the zoo’s other female giraffe, Audrey, gave birth to a male calf named Buttercup.

Both calves were sired by Michael, the zoo’s only male giraffe, said Horiszny, who noted that giraffes have a 14- to 15-month gestation period.

The new calf’s name was selected by the Pryor family, which also sponsor Buttercup.

Saturday’s birth was Betty Lou’s second successful pregnancy; she gave birth to a female calf named Sunshine in April 2013.

Sunshine was moved to the Phoenix Zoo last year as part of a cooperative breeding program of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

“We are thrilled to continue our commitment to the sustainability of the Masai giraffe population in North America with this calf,” Horiszny added.

The new calf could be on public exhibit by early next week, she said.

A fund has been established to support the new giraffe calf and the rest of the zoo’s giraffe herd.

Click here for more information about the Santa Barbara Zoo.

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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