On a new giraffe calf's behalf, VA Zoo staff holds a naming contest.

On May 26, a baby Masai giraffe was born at the Virginia Zoo to healthy giraffe parents, Noelle and Billy. At birth, the calf weighed 146 pounds and stood about six feet tall, and is now bonding well with its mother and receiving everything it needs.

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The young lad, cared for by Zoo personnel. Courtesy virginiazoo.org.

The giraffe keeper and zoo staff performed a neonatal exam of the baby a day after birth to assess its health and bond with its mother. During the exam, the calf was determined to be male and was very strong. He quickly figured out how to maneuver his long legs. Though they look ungainly, especially at birth, giraffe calves learn to stand, walk, and even run, shortly after being born. For a creature native to the African savannah where predators roam, mobility is key.

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The new calf, contemplating the responsibilities of being a giraffe. Courtesy virginiazoo.org.

To help support the Zoo's operation and have a little fun, the Zoo is asking everyone to help name the new giraffe. From the Virginia Zoo's website:

In an extra fun naming contest, anyone can submit a name suggestion for just $5. The names will then be narrowed down to five options by Zoo staff and Billy, the calf’s father, will choose the final name! How will a giraffe pick the name? The Zoo will reveal this during a Virtual Voyage on June 9.

Name submissions will be accepted from June 1–7 via the 2020 Giraffe Naming page on the Virginia Zoo website. The top five names will be announced on June 8, and Billy the giraffe will make the final decision on June 9. Funds raised through the contest will go to the Zoo’s Emergency Operating Fund.

With the arrival of this new male calf, the herd at the Virginia Zoo totals five. The parent-giraffes, Billy and Noelle, have another child named Kylie, who celebrated her first birthday last month. There's also five-time supermom giraffe, Imara.

The births of Kylie and her new baby brother were based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) for Masai giraffes. Masai giraffes are currently an endangered species due to habitat loss and poaching.

Though the zoo is closed, for the time being, you can book a virtual tour for an up-close encounter through the marvel of internet streaming.

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