The Santa Barbara Zoo welcomed its newest baby Masai giraffe, Raymie, early in the morning on Wednesday, January 19.
“We are thrilled to share the news of this birth and welcome another Masai giraffe to our herd,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the zoo’s Vice President of animal care and health. “Each giraffe born at the zoo is very important to this population and conservation of this species, so we’re especially proud of the critical work done at the Santa Barbara Zoo with our incredible animal care team.”
The male calf was born around 2 a.m. to the zoo’s female Masai giraffe, Adia. He is the 11th Masai giraffe born at the Zoo since 2012, and the 10th fathered by zoo’s male giraffe, Michael. Adia and Michael’s first calf together, Twiga, was born in March 2020, shortly after the zoo closed due to the pandemic.
Michael is considered the “most genetically important male Masai giraffe in North America,” and he was brought to the S.B. Zoo from Canada in December 2011; Adia arrived in 2017 from the Cleveland Zoo.
Adia was in labor for just over three hours, and Raymie was able to stand on his own 45 minutes after he was born. He is nursing and appears strong and healthy, according to zoo staff. Mother and son are now bonding behind the scenes in the “giraffe barn.” The zoo’s animal care team will determine when Adia and Raymie are ready to leave the barn.
A day after his birth, Raymie weighed in at just over 154 pounds and was measured at 5 feet, 9 inches tall.
Masai giraffes are listed as endangered due to the significant decline of this species in the wild in recent decades, and the giraffes at the Santa Barbara Zoo are among the estimated 120 Masai giraffes that live at 28 North American zoos, according to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.
The public can help support the herd by becoming a “Foster Feeder” sponsor of the giraffe herd. A donation of $50+ helps with the cost of feeding the growing giraffe family. For more info and updates on when Raymie will be available for public viewing, visit the zoo’s social media accounts or check sbzoo.org.