Santa Barbara Zoo confirms Two Masai giraffes are Pregnant
Source: Santa Barbara Zoo
It’s a baby boom at the Santa Barbara Zoo! The Zoo’s Animal Care and Health team has confirmed that two of its endangered female giraffes are pregnant. Adia is pregnant and due in January 2022, and Audrey is pregnant and will be due in July 2022. The Zoo’s adult male Michael is the sire of both.
This will be the second calf for Adia (age 7), whose first calf Twiga, with Michael, was born in March 2020, just after the Zoo closed due to the pandemic. This will be the seventh calf for Audrey (age 13), who has had four calves with Michael, most recently Amirah, born in March 2018, who is now at the Sacramento Zoo. With the addition of these two calves next year, ten Masai giraffes will have been born at the Zoo since 2013, nine sired by father Michael (age 15).
“We’re excited to welcome another Masai giraffe to our herd and continue to contribute to the population of this endangered species,” said Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo’s Vice President of Animal Care & Health. “This is a great example of the critical work done at the Santa Barbara Zoo with our incredible animal care team.”
The gestation period for a giraffe is about 15 months, and pregnancies are confirmed through hormone analysis of fecal samples.
Michael is the most genetically important male Masai giraffe in North America, as he is only related to his offspring. He was brought to the Zoo from Canada in December 2011 and has since sired nine calves. Eight of the calves have moved to other accredited zoos as part of a cooperative breeding program among accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Two of Michael’s sons have had offspring, so he is now a grandpa. Audrey arrived at the Santa Barbara Zoo in 2010 from the Los Angeles Zoo, and Adia arrived in 2017 from the Cleveland Zoo.
The giraffes at the Zoo are among more than 120 Masai giraffes that live at 28 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA).
Support the Herd
The Zoo needs the community’s help now more than ever! The public can also help the Zoo welcome this long-necked arrival by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor of the giraffe herd. A donation of $50+ helps with the cost of feeding the growing giraffe family. New giraffe Foster Feeders will receive a digital certificate with a baby photo of the calf, a Masai giraffe fact sheet, and recognition on the Zoo’s Foster Feeder board. For information or to become a Foster Feeder, click here.
About Masai Giraffes
In 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) announced Masai giraffes are endangered. There are an estimated 37,000 Masai giraffes in Kenya and Tanzania, but a more thorough census is required. They are at risk due to poaching and habitat loss and degradation. Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, and the Masai is the largest subspecies, growing up to 17 feet tall and weighing 2,700 pounds.
About the Santa Barbara Zoo
The Santa Barbara Zoo is open daily from 9 a.m. for members and 9:30 a.m. for general admission until 5 p.m. (seasonal extended hours on select days); general admission is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children 2-12, and free for children under 2. Parking is $11. The Santa Barbara Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA zoos are dedicated to providing excellent care for animals, a great visitor experience, and a better future for all living things. With its more than 200 accredited members, AZA is a leader in global wildlife conservation and is the public’s link to helping animals in their native habitats. Visit www.sbzoo.org.