Ask anyone in Louisville Zoo’s membership and they’ll tell you they are happy the baby giraffe is surviving in spite of a rather bumpy start. Born at six foot two inches, and 150 pounds, the giraffe was named Bakari, which means hopeful. Hopeful is just what the zoo staff is for the baby giraffe’s chances of survival.
When baby giraffe’s are born, it is vital that they learn to stand within 24 hours, but little Bakari was having some difficulties, even as zoo staff tried to make the floor less slippery and make it easier for Bakari to stand on his own. Although he is making some progress, because he is still having trouble standing by himself for very long, zoo staff are hand raising this adorable little creature in an effort to save his life. Veterinarians are not exactly sure what is causing Bakari’s troubles.
“While we prefer not to hand-raise animals and let their mothers raise them, sometimes it is inevitable,” Louisville Zoo Assistant Mammal Curator Candy McMahan said. “We always hope for the best, but in the end, we do what needs to be done to provide the most excellent care possible for the animal.”
What to Tell Your Children
Bakari is not available to be viewed by the general public as his health is still fragile. Children can keep Bakari and the zoo staff in their thoughts and daily prayers. In the meantime, the zoo has three other Masai giraffes at the zoo in addition to Bakari. Bakari’s mother is Malaika, who is 11 years old. The zoo is also home to 21 year old Mariah (female) and and 14 year old Walker (male).
Some Interesting Giraffe Facts
- Tallest land mammal
- They are pregnant for 14 to 16 months
- Baby giraffes are usually over six foot tall
- Their necks have seven vertebrae (similar to other land mammals)
- Their hearts are large and blood pressure runs high to pump the blood up their neck to their brains
- They are gentle creatures
You can learn even more about these gentle giants by visiting the Louisville Zoo.