The Santa Barbara Zoo confirmed Friday that two of its endangered female Masai giraffes are pregnant. These would be the first calves born in the zoo since March 2020.
“We’re excited to welcome another Masai giraffe to our herd and continue to contribute to the population of this endangered species,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, Vice President of Animal Care & Health at the zoo. “This is a great example of the critical work done at the Santa Barbara Zoo with our incredible animal care team.”
The Masai giraffe was classified as an endangered species in 2018 by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, and it’s estimated that around 37,000 of them exist in the wild in Kenya and Tanzania. The species neared extinction due to poaching and deforestation.
Adia, age 7, is due in January 2022, and Audrey, age 13, will be due in July 2022. The zoo’s only adult male, Michael, age 15, is the father of both. This will be the second calf for Adia and the seventh for Audrey.
The zoo has had 10 Masai giraffes born since 2013, eight which have been moved to other zoos as part of a cooperative breeding program. Two of those have had offspring, adding to the 120 Masai giraffes that currently reside in North American zoos.