Houston Zoo officials are already swooning over the big, batting eyes and oh-so-lush lashes of its newest family member, a female Masai giraffe.
Mama Neema delivered the healthy female calf shortly after 7 am on August 3 at the McGovern Giraffe Habitat at The African Forest following a 14.5-month pregnancy. The calf now weighs 132 pounds and is 6 feet tall.
"After a very short labor, Neema delivered her baby girl," John Register, Houston Zoo hoofed stock supervisor, said in a news release. "The calf was standing on her own and nursing shortly after."
The recent birth brings the zoo's herd of Masai giraffes to 10, with six males and four females. Neema and father, Mtembei, are both 7 years old. This is Neema’s second successful birth.
The giraffe keepers who cared for Neema during her pregnancy are mulling over a name now. A zoo spokesperson had no timetable for when it will be announced.
Mama and baby are now behind the scenes as the keeper and veterinary staff members closely monitor them to ensure the "little one" grows healthy and strong.