The latest addition to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center giraffe family was named on Tuesday, thanks to some input from the public.
Maple, who was born on April 23, was the fourth calf born at Fossil Rim this spring. All four female calves were sired by a bull giraffe named Mananasi.
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The Environmental Engagement Department at Fossil Rim proposed three potential names for the long-legged infant, and the winning moniker was chosen by members of the public who voted on the center’s website.
The center explained the meaning behind each of the name options.
“Maple was chosen not only for its fun relation to one of this season’s earlier calves, ‘Waffles,’ but as a nod to the unique spot pattern each giraffe has. This calf’s wide brown patches resemble the leaves on a maple tree in the fall, something which she’d surely love to snack on if she had the opportunity.”
“Mimosa is a direct reference to one of wild giraffes’ primary food sources: the leaves of [the] acacia tree. While Mimosa flowers fall into this genus, the name is also a nod to the quintessential brunch drink served in the tallest glass. Also, who doesn’t like mimosas?”
“Kamaria is a Swahili name meaning moonlight. This calf was born with light coloring and the name is a wonderful connection to her older half-sister Luna (Latin origin meaning moon), who is currently residing at the St. Louis Zoo.”
Maple’s older half-sister Waffles was the first of the giraffe calves born this season, arriving on March 4. Goldie was born about two weeks later, on March 19. Another half-sister, Frizzy, was born on April 3.
Warren Lewis, the chief marketing officer at Fossil Rim, told The Dallas Express that all four calves are “doing incredibly well and hanging out together.” He said they could be seen enjoying the wide open spaces of the main preserve area, which is similar to their natural environment.
The open environment of the wildlife center allows the calves to learn natural herd behavior, which is important for their survival. Giraffes are classified as “vulnerable,” as there are only about 7,000 left on the planet, according to Lewis.
Giraffes are the world’s tallest mammals. Newborn calves are typically about six feet tall. By the time they are 1 year old, they will stand about 12 feet tall.
Fully-grown females can be as tall as 14 feet and weigh about 1,500 pounds. Male giraffes can grow as tall as 18 feet and weigh 3,000 pounds, according to PBS.
The four new calves still have a lot of growing to do.
Visitors to the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center in Glen Rose can see Maple and her sisters on the public guided tour or the self-guided drive through the conservation center.