Baby Giraffe Expected At Garden City's Lee Richardson Zoo

Mar 20, 2018

Lee Richardson Zoo is happy to announce the first pregnancy of Juani and Cleo, the new breeding pair of reticulated giraffes.

Juani, the male and future sire, is nine years old and arrived from Indianapolis Zoo in 2011.  When he was transferred to Garden City, it was with the intent of contributing to the giraffe population through breeding in the future.  Zoo staff worked with AZA’s Giraffe SSP to identify a female that would be a good genetic match for him.  Cleo, the five-year-old soon-to-be mom, arrived in 2014 from Jacksonville Zoo.

Pregnancies in giraffes are hard to detect visually until later in the gestation when a noticeable change in the size of the abdomen can be seen.  Gestation is 15 months long.  Zoo staff observed breeding behavior and were hopeful, but since the pair hasn’t had offspring before, success was uncertain.  Recent signs are pointing to a pregnancy, and we’re hopeful that she’ll have an easy delivery and be a good mother.  Animal Care and Veterinary staff are making plans for all contingencies and are keeping a watchful eye for signs of further progress.

In the wild, giraffes are facing a growing crisis.  Reticulated giraffe numbers have dropped by almost 80 percent since the 1980s according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.  Habitat loss and other threats from a growing human population, such as poaching, are the main cause of the decline. 

For information on what you can do to help reticulated giraffe, visit GiraffeConservation.org.