Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s baby giraffe makes his debut

CLEVELAND-- It's a big day for the newest addition at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

The baby giraffe made his debut at the giraffe encounter on Wednesday. It's his first day outside and the first time visitors have a chance to see the little one.

The healthy calf was born on Aug. 6, standing over 6 feet tall and weighing about 160 pounds.

"He's probably the biggest and more vigorous calf we've had here in a while. Actually, this is No. 48 for us," said Travis Vineyard, curator of animals.

The baby's first 10 days on earth have been busy. After a few days of mother-calf bonding time, the giraffe met the other members of his family. He's also already gained 30 pounds!

"You'll see them exploring around, sniffing the ground, sticks and trees," Vineyard said. "You'll see a lot of interaction between, not just between the calf and the mom out here, but the calf and the sister and the brother and unrelated, maybe call it an aunt."

Vineyard said the calf is gradually being introduced into his new space. That's why visitors will notice covers over parts of the fence in the giraffe exhibit. Keepers don't want to overwhelm the baby.

Vineyard said he hopes the new giraffe encourages people to learn about the species and realize the importance of conservation efforts. While giraffes are an iconic animal, they are considered threatened.

Stay tuned to find out how you can help Cleveland Metroparks Zoo name the calf.

The Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter is open daily from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., weather permitting. Romaine lettuce is $2.50 a leaf and available at the giraffe deck. Mom and baby will not always be outside to allow for more bonding.

More stories on the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo here