Sunday, April 22 , 2018, 6:03 pm | Fair 68º


Local News

Santa Barbara Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe No. 2

Betty Lou, a 5-year-old giraffe, gives birth after two hours of labor to Sunshine, a female calf

The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed its second Masai giraffe calf Sunday afternoon, bringing its herd from three to five in just two weeks.

Betty Lou, a 5-year-old giraffe, gave birth after two hours of labor to Sunshine, a female calf.

“The birth was easy and uneventful, and both the mother and baby are doing well,” Zoo Director Nancy McToldridge said.

Audrey, the zoo’s other female Masai giraffe, gave birth to a male calf, Dane, 10 days earlier.

He made his debut to the public last Tuesday, but won’t be joined by his new exhibit-mate for a little while.

The zoo has been preparing for the two births for more than a year, since giraffes have a 14- to 15-month gestation period.

Both calves were sired by Michael, the zoo’s only male Masai giraffe, which was brought to Santa Barbara for breeding purposes.

Sunshine stood up after 40 minutes and was nursing normally, zoo staff said.

Betty Lou was being a “very attentive mother, and is exhibiting more protective behaviors than Audrey did, so barn visits are limited to zoo staff for the near future,” said Sheri Horiszny, director of animal programs.

“Though (Sunshine) looks dainty, she is quite the fighter, and is 6 feet tall and 133 pounds. She is back with her mom now, and will meet her cousin Dane tomorrow,” she said after a medical exam Monday afternoon.

Sunshine will be on view after having some time to bond with her mother and “adjust to being on four gangly legs,” McToldridge said.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli 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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