Cincinnati Zoo Reveals Newborn Giraffe Calf's Name

Meet four-day-old Fennessy, the zoo's newest babe

click to enlarge Honestly, we stan Fennessy. - Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Honestly, we stan Fennessy.

Meet Fennessy, the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden's baby giraffe.  

Born at 2 a.m. June 17 to parents Tessa and Kimba, the zoo announced Fennessy's gender — it's a boy! — and name via Facebook Live this morning, which just so happens to also be World Giraffe Day, during his public debut. 

"We wanted to let you all know that we do in fact have a little boy giraffe — our first male calf that we've had since Kimba joined us," a zookeeper said in the video. "Kimba has sired six calves now and the first five were actually female. This is Tessa's fourth calf and first male." 

Named in honor of Julian and Stephanie Fennessy of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation — the zoo wanted to celebrate conservationists who are "working hard to save these amazing animals" — the baby stands at 6 feet tall and weighs in at 147 pounds. In the last 30 years, Africa has seen a 30 percent decrease in its wild giraffe population. In 2016, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed giraffes as "vulnerable." And this April, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced it would consider listing the giraffe as an endangered species.  

click to enlarge Baby Fennessy with his mom earlier this week - Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden
Baby Fennessy with his mom earlier this week

GCF is just one of the organizations working to create a more sustainable future for the species. In the Facebook video, the zookeeper also said that there are thought to be four species and five subspecies of giraffe. (Tessa, Kimba and Fennessy are all Maasai giraffes.) 

In the video, Fennessy explored the outdoor habitat with his mom. Meanwhile, Kimba is currently chilling indoors to allow Fennessy the chance to get used to the yard without any extra pressure from dad, who is nearly 17 feet tall. But the whole fam will soon reunite. 

Fennessy marks the 16th giraffe to be born at the Cincy Zoo since 1889. Come November, No. 17 is due to mom Cece; it will be her second calf. 

According to the zoo, "Tessa came to the Cincinnati Zoo in 2008 from the Houston Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). Her mate, Kimba, came to Cincinnati in 2008, from the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. He has sired six calves, this is his fourth with Tessa."

Fun giraffe baby facts:

  • According to a press release, the first giraffe born in a zoo in the Western Hemisphere was born at the Cincinnati Zoo in 1889
  • A giraffe's gestation period is nearly 15 months
  • Baby giraffes fall to the ground head first when they're born

The Cincinnati Zoo is located at 3400 Vine St., Avondale. More info: Watch the Facebook Live video below: 

Scroll to read more Culture articles
Join the CityBeat Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state.
Help us keep this coverage going with a one-time donation or an ongoing membership pledge.


Join CityBeat Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.