Meet the Cincinnati Zoo's Brand New Baby Giraffe

Mom Tessa just gave birth to her fourth calf

Jun 17, 2019 at 11:06 am
click to enlarge NEW BABY! - Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Zoo
Photo: Provided by Cincinnati Zoo

The Cincinnati Zoo's 11-year-old giraffe Kimba celebrated Father's Day with a new addition — his 12-year-old baby mama Tessa delivered her fourth calf (and Kimba's sixth) at 2 a.m. Monday morning. 

The zoo says the calf was born after about an hour of labor, was standing within the hour and nursing throughout the night. 

click to enlarge Meet the Cincinnati Zoo's Brand New Baby Giraffe
Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo

“Tessa is our super mom,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo, in a press release. “She and baby are doing well and bonding behind the scenes at Giraffe Ridge. Kimba will be reunited with the full group within a week.”

Although the sex of the baby giraffe has not been released, this is the 16th giraffe born at the zoo since 1889 and calf No. 17 is due later this fall to mama Cece; it will be her second.

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."

Tessa and the new calf are not on display yet, but the zoo will make an announcement when visitors can see them in their outdoor habitat.

Fun giraffe baby facts:

  • According to the release, the first giraffe born in a zoo in the Western Hemisphere was born in 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
click to enlarge Meet the Cincinnati Zoo's Brand New Baby Giraffe
Photo: Provided by the Cincinnati Zoo

Tessa, Kimba and the new baby are Maasai giraffes. In 2018, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed giraffes as "vulnerable," mainly suffering population loss due to habitat destruction, trophy hunting, poaching and the affects of inhabiting war-torn areas. The Cincinnati Zoo's behind-the-scenes tours of the giraffe habitat benefit wild Maasai giraffe conservation with proceeds going to the Wild Nature Institute.

The Cincinnati Zoo is located at 3400 Vine St., Avondale. More info: