NORFOLK, Va. (WVEC) -- The Virginia Zoo welcomed its newest member, a Masai giraffe calf on Sunday.
Mother Imara gave birth to the 149-pound female calf. The unnamed baby stands 5'11" tall and was able to walk just a few hours after being born.
Zoo staff members noticed the female calf was born with a common birth defect called carpal laxity. The condition causes her front limbs to bow slightly backwards as she walks. The cause of the defect is unknown and it is not a painful condition. The zoo's staff is monitoring her health.
Dr. Colleen Clabbers, the zoo's veterinarian said:
"The calf is bright, alert and strong... Imara is an experienced and attentive mother and we’re optimistic that she’ll do a great job. Many of these calves grow out of this condition, but there are those calves that may need support and assistance as they grow."
A competition naming the calf likely will get underway in the next few weeks.
Visitors can see the calf and her mother at the indoor giraffe exhibit in Africa- Okavango Delta exhibit.
This birth is significant to the Masai Giraffe population which is only about 100 in North America.