Indianapolis Zoo welcomes newborn baby giraffe

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indianapolis Zoo announced Wednesday the birth of a baby giraffe, the first zoo baby of the new year.

The male reticulated giraffe calf was born in the morning hours of Jan. 9, measured at six feet tall and weighed in at 158 pounds at birth. The calf is already growing with the expectation that he will be several feet taller before his first birthday.

And the baby needs a name! Help choose through a poll on the zoo's Facebook page here.

The newborn is the sixth calf (all males) for 18-year-old mother Takasa. Guests at the zoo will have an opportunity to meet members of the giraffe herd, including the newborn, up-close in the spring during public feeds.

Female giraffes give birth standing up after a 15-month pregnancy. 

Newborns are extremely resilient and are typically on their feet in less than an hour, according to the Indianapolis Zoo. The zoo says the new calf is curious and adventurous, "exploring his surroundings though never venturing too far from his watchful mom."

Giraffes are the tallest land mammals on the planet. 

The zoo says like all of their animals, the newborn will be an ambassador to help raise awareness for conservation of the species. Certain populations of giraffes are in decline due to poaching and armed conflicts in parts of Africa, according to the zoo.

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