Toronto Zoo Welcomes Birth of Endangered Masai Giraffe Calf
It's a girl and she's a cutie! 🦒🍼
In the early part of May 12, 2020, Mstari, a six-year-old female Masai giraffe at the Toronto Zoo, gave birth to a healthy calf, who has been dubbed by Zoo staff as 'Baby Long Legs.' This is the first offspring for both mother Mstari and father Kiko, a seven-year-old male who came to Toronto Zoo from Greenville Zoo in South Carolina in 2015. The pairing of Kiko and Mstari was at the recommendation of the AZA Masai giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP), a cooperative breeding program among accredited zoos. Both mom and calf are doing well and Wildlife Care Keepers continue to monitor Mstari and calf closely to ensure the calf continues to nurse from Mstari regularly.
The Toronto Zoo has had 19 giraffes born since 1980, and this birth represents the first third-generation Toronto-born giraffe — both Mstari and her mother, Twiga, were also born at the Toronto Zoo.
“This birth is an important contribution to a genetically healthy Masai giraffe population especially as Mstari is the most genetically valuable giraffe in North America,” said Dolf DeJong, Chief Executive Officer, Toronto Zoo. “Masai giraffes are under increasing pressure due to habitat loss and illegal hunting. It is important to educate the public on their plight in the wild and do everything we can to prevent the threats they face and halt declining populations,” he added.
To celebrate this exciting new addition, the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy has launched a new campaign to raise money to support the growing giraffe family. The Room to Grow Campaign will support many different aspects and modifications including:
• Increasing available space by reconfiguring the existing rooms and equipment
• Allowing for better access to the giraffes by Wildlife Care staff and the veterinary team
• Incorporating features to improve enrichment, educational and monitoring opportunities
“Our Room to Grow Campaign launches today, and we are excited to be working with the Toronto Zoo and our supporters to raise $70,000 to complete this important work for our growing giraffe family,” said Beth Gilhespy, Executive Director of the Toronto Zoo Wildlife Conservancy.
Find out how you can donate to Room to Grow here.
And meet Baby Long Legs...