Tessa, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden's six-year-old Maasai giraffe is pregnant again, and due in the next few weeks!
Tessa, and father "Kimba," are both doing well and can currently be seen at the Zoo's Giraffe Ridge exhibit.
Due to the overwhelming response during the last birth, the Zoo will again be live-tweeting leading up to and during this birth as well.
"We're incredibly excited to announce that Tessa is expecting again," said Thane Maynard, Executive Director at the Cincinnati Zoo. "Over the last month, we've been preparing the indoor stall and the outdoor yard for the arrival of this calf and naturally, monitoring Tessa closely to ensure another smooth pregnancy and delivery."
The Cincinnati Zoo's history with giraffe births dates back to 1889 when it became the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to have a giraffe born in captivity.
This will be Tessa's third calf, her last calf "Lulu" was born on October 12, 2012. This spring, Lulu will be leaving the Cincinnati Zoo to join a new family just up the road at The Wilds, in Cumberland, Ohio.
As of Wednesday, March 5, a dedicated team of Zoo Volunteer Observers (ZVO's) are keeping an eye on Tessa around the clock.
Volunteers are taking 3-4 hour shifts watching Tessa, looking for behavioral changes that might indicate labor.
Protocols have been developed to cover almost any situation, although the Zoo hopes that after four hours of labor Tessa will give birth on her own.
After nearly 15 months of gestation, at birth a baby giraffe drops to the ground head first, about a 6-foot drop!
The fall and the landing do no hurt the calf, but they do cause it to take a big breath. The calf is expected to both nurse and stand within an hour of delivery.
To prepare for the birth, in Tessa's indoor stall, keepers have added 6-8 inches of sawdust and hay on top of large rubber mats to cushion the calf's fall and to provide excellent footing for the calf once it begins to stand.
Giraffe calves typically weigh around 125 pounds at birth and are approximately six feet tall.
Don't miss out on Tessa's big day! Follow the Cincinnati Zoo on twitter @CincinnatiZoo!
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