Friday, October 19 , 2018, 12:59 am | Fair 56º


2nd Baby Masai Giraffe Born at Santa Barbara Zoo This Year

Latest addition, named Parker, is 3rd for mom Betty Lou, and 6th Masai giraffe calf born at zoo since 2012

Betty Lou tends to her newborn calf, Parker, at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Saturday. The baby giraffe — Betty Lou’s third calf — was born earlier in the day.
Betty Lou tends to her newborn calf, Parker, at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Saturday. The baby giraffe — Betty Lou’s third calf — was born earlier in the day. (Santa Barbara Zoo photo)

The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed a new baby Masai giraffe Saturday morning.

After about 45 minutes of labor, third-time mother Betty Lou gave birth to her calf, Parker, at 9:38 a.m., in the zoo’s Giraffe Barn.

Parker’s name was chosen by the Hutton Parker Foundation, which provides organizational sustainability to community-based nonprofit organizations throughout Santa Barbara County.

The calf’s gender was to be determined during a veterinary exam Sunday. Parker is not ready to make a public debut, said Dean Noble, the zoo’s marketing director.

He said the baby was able to stand less than an hour after being born, and was nursing 30 minutes after standing up.

Parker is the sixth Masai calf to be born at the Santa Barbara Zoo since 2012.

The zoo’s giraffe herd also consists of sire Michael, females Betty Lou and Audrey, and Audrey’s calves named Chad and Buttercup. Chad, a male calf, was born on March 26.

The herd is part of the population of 120 Masais that live in 28 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Giraffe calves are born around 125 to 150 pounds and stand at 6 feet tall at birth. Parker is expected to grow three feet during its first year of life, Noble said.

There are an estimated 37,000 Masai giraffes in Tanzania and Kenya, but a more thorough census is required, according to Noble. The mammals are at risk due to environmental degradation, habitat loss and poaching.

Giraffes are the tallest land mammals, and the Masai is the largest subspecies, weighing 2,700 pounds and growing up to 17 feet tall.

Zoo officials are encouraging the public to welcome the new giraffe by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor with a donation of $50 or more. New giraffe Foster Feeders receive a baby photo of the calf along with a certificate, giraffe fact sheet and recognition on the zoo’s Foster Feeder board. Click here for more information.

Noozhawk staff writer Brooke Holland 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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