The Abilene zoo welcomed a new baby giraffe to its menagerie for the second time this summer.
First-time mother Malika gave birth to a calf on Saturday night. Zoo staff had previously announced the four-year-old giraffe’s pregnancy on World Giraffe Day.
Malika’s handlers stated that the baby is nursing, and the new mother is taking well to her new role.
The zoo’s care team plans on closely monitoring Malika and her calf as the coming days are critical for infant survival.
The team is waiting to name the new addition to the herd, but the animal care team will document the calf’s sex, height, and weight over the next few days.
Earlier this summer, a female giraffe calf was born to Jamie. The calf was named Makena, born on June 24.
These two additions to the zoo’s giraffe herd make it 10-strong, officially qualifying as a “tower” of giraffes and tying the Abilene zoo’s all-time record for the largest number of giraffes.
Giraffes generally live for about 25 years in the wild but can enjoy a significantly extended lifespan in zoos or conservation projects.
Last year, The Dallas Express reported that three giraffes died at the Dallas zoo. One calf had to be put down after fracturing its legs, another died of hepatitis, and the third passed from colitis, or an inflamed colon.
The Dallas zoo currently has six giraffes, and the Fort Worth zoo has a herd of nine.