Thanksgiving came early at the L.A. Zoo with birth of female Masai giraffe

Thanksgiving came early at the L.A. Zoo with the birth of a healthy, female Masai giraffe on November 9. The unnamed calf, weighing in at around 130 pounds and standing just under six feet tall, is the third baby born to eight-year-old mother, Hasina, and the first offspring for the four-year-old father, Phillip. Hasina and Phillip were paired together through a Species Survival Program (SSP) that breeds Masai giraffes in order to ensure the survival of a species that is threatened in the wild.

"The birth of this female giraffe is an example of the hard work and dedication zoos have committed to the conservation of Masai giraffe," said Josh Sisk, Curator of Mammals at the Los Angeles Zoo. "Successful breeding programs such as this ensure future generations are able to personally experience these magnificent animals."

Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, and Masai giraffes can grow up to 17 feet tall and weigh 2,700 pounds. The largest of the nine subspecies of giraffe, Masai giraffes are found in East Africa, namely southern Kenya and northern Tanzania. All giraffe populations throughout Africa are under threat and declining due to habitat loss and fragmentation, illegal hunting, and disease.

The female calf can currently be seen with the rest of the giraffe herd on exhibit daily, weather permitting.