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The first animal born at the Virginia Zoo in 2021 was...a baby giraffe!

Zookeepers welcomed a Masai giraffe calf on January 11. It's the first animal born at the Virginia Zoo in 2021. Staffers say she's "healthy and feisty!"
Credit: Virginia Zoo

NORFOLK, Va. — The Virginia Zoo announced the birth of the very first animal born at the zoo in 2021: a baby giraffe!

Zookeepers welcomed a newborn Masai giraffe calf on January 11, 2021. Keepers say the baby weighed 148.5 pounds and stood 6'1" tall at birth.

After a neonatal exam was performed, veterinarians learned the baby is a girl and say she is "healthy and feisty!" She was born to parents Imara and Billy. This is the eighth calf for Imara and the thirteenth for Billy.

Zoo care staffers say the calf is nursing well and bonding with her mother. She also appears strong and is already learning to run.

Credit: Virginia Zoo

There's no name for her just yet, but the zoo wants the public's help with that. For five bucks, anyone can submit a name suggestion.  Name entries will be accepted starting Jan. 14 and people have until Jan. 21 to submit a name. You can submit a potential name here

The names will be narrowed down to five options by zookeepers and a final name will be picked by the calf's mother, Imara. The five-dollar donation will support the Zoo's Act for Wildlife fund, which supports conservation efforts locally and around the world. 

With this birth, the giraffe herd total is six, which is a record for the zoo. That includes the newborn calf, Imara, Billy, Noelle, Kylie and Teddy-Acacia.

Masai giraffes are currently listed as endangered due to habitat loss and poaching, so the birth of this newest calf is very important to stabilize the current population.