Bringing the Santa Barbara Zoo’s giraffe herd to five, a new Masai giraffe arrived early Saturday at 1:55 a.m.: 186 pounds, 6-foot-4-inches tall. The baby girl — named Asha, Swahili for “life” — lives in the giraffe barn with Betty Lou, her mother, and visited the “hard yard” outside the giraffe barn on Sunday, where some lucky visitors spotted her, explained Julia McHugh, the zoo’s director of public relations.
“The calf could be out on exhibit early next week, if all continues to look good,” said Sheri Horiszny, director of animal Programs. The zoo has introduced Asha to the other females in the herd, and will next introduce her to her father, Michael. She’ll have access to the giraffe exhibit between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. for the next few days, but zoo officials are leaving it up to Asha whether she feels like venturing out or not.
A male calf named Buttercup was born last November to the zoo’s other Masai female, Audrey, and both new arrivals are fathered by Michael, also part of the S.B. Zoo’s herd. Care for the newborn giraffes is supported in part by the Pryor family, which gets the pleasure of naming the youngsters. Like many exhibits at the zoo, the giraffe herd raises support funds from the public at sbzoo.org.