In the late evening hours of Feb. 11, the Zoo welcomed the birth of a reticulated giraffe, the first female calf since 2000. Named Makena (ma-KAY-nah), which means “happy one” or “abundance” in Swahili, the calf weighed 134 pounds and stood about 6 feet tall at birth. She is already growing and will be several feet taller before her first birthday.
The newborn is the seventh calf — and only female — for 21-year-old mother Takasa. Following a 15-month pregnancy, female giraffes give birth standing up. While their arrival into the world is somewhat abrupt, newborn giraffes are extremely resilient and are typically up on their feet in less than an hour. The Zoo’s spirited newcomer stood up and began nursing soon after birth. Zookeepers said the calf is also curious and adventurous, exploring her surroundings though never venturing too far from her watchful mom.
Native to Sub-Saharan Africa, giraffes bear a beautiful coat of brown spots that helps provide camouflage on the arid plains. While every giraffe’s pattern is unique, the Zoo’s youngster currently takes after her father, 8-year-old Majani, with her coloration. Both have lighter, caramel-colored patches compared to Takasa’s darker, cinnamon-colored spots.
The Zoo’s giraffe herd, which is now up to five, will remain inside its climate-controlled indoor facility throughout the winter. The new family is expected to make its debut in the spring, and at that time, guests will have an opportunity to meet members of the herd up close during public feeds. The giraffe exhibit and feedings are presented by Meijer.
Indianapolis Zoo babies are presented by Hendricks Regional Health.
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