SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The giraffe calf born at the Santa Barbara Zoo on Friday is a male.
The newborn giraffe's name is Twiga, pronounced "TWEE-gah", which is a Swahili word that translates to "giraffe".
The calf received its first exam Saturday.
Twiga measured at six feet tall and 125.5 pounds. The Zoo said both baby and mom, Adia, are doing well.
“This birth is special in so many ways,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care and Health. “It’s always a joy to see a new life begin, but we think it’s especially meaningful right now as a beacon of hope and good news during these challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic. Masai giraffes are listed as endangered due to the significant decline of this species in the wild in recent decades."
The Zoo’s giraffe keepers who know Adia best will determine when the calf is ready to leave the giraffe barn.
This is the first baby for mother Adia, age 5, and eighth for the father, Michael.
The zoo said the calves carry rare, valuable genes that are vital to keeping the Masai giraffe population genetically diverse and healthy.
The Santa Barbara Zoo’s Masai giraffe herd now numbers five with the addition of Twiga: Michael, Adia, Audrey, and her calf Amirah. (Amirah was scheduled to depart for the Sacramento Zoo as part of the AZA breeding program, but her departure was delayed for weather and coronavirus concerns).
The public can support the Masai giraffe herd by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor. For information or to become a Foster Feeder, click here.