The Philadelphia Zoo’s giraffe couple, Stella and Gus, welcomed a new calf into the world on Sunday.
The baby, a male named Beau, stands 5 feet, 7 inches tall and made his public debut Tuesday in the zoo’s African Plains area. According to a zoo news release, mother and offspring are doing well.
Meet baby Beau! We are so excited to welcome a new baby giraffe boy, born to Stella and Gus on Sunday, June 10. After a smooth delivery, Stella and Beau are doing well. Standing at 5 feet 7 inches, Beau made his public debut today and is currently getting used to his new home in African Plains! http://www.philadelphiazoo.org/giraffe
Posted by Philadelphia Zoo on Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Stella and Gus are also parents to 7-year-old Abigail, who lives at the zoo with them. The four are the zoo’s only giraffes. Gus will temporarily be separated from the rest of the family until Beau is older, as male giraffes do not directly help with caring for calves.
A giraffe’s gestation period is about 14 months, so the zoo had ample time to prepare for Beau’s arrival.
According to the zoo’s chief operating officer, Andy Baker, Beau’s birth comes at a crucial time for his species.
“We’ve been looking forward to a giraffe birth for more than a year,” Baker said in a statement. “The giraffe is one of the most iconic animals in the world, and unfortunately now among the threatened.”
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has named giraffes as “vulnerable” on the organization’s red list of threatened species. There are now fewer than 100,000 giraffes in the wild. Should declining population trends continue, the next rank on the list is “endangered.”
When he’s older, Beau will stretch out to up to 18 feet tall and weigh close to 3,000 pounds. To grow to that size, Beau will nurse for his first few months before transitioning to “an adult herbivorous diet,” according to the zoo.