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Dickerson Park Zoo's Baby Giraffe Struggling to Gain Strength

A baby giraffe, born Wednesday at Dickerson Park Zoo, is under the care of zookeepers who are hoping she’ll gain the strength to stand. KSMU’s Michele Skalicky has more…

The female giraffe calf born at Dickerson Park Zoo Wednesday afternoon is getting help from zoo staff. According to Zoo spokesperson Melinda Arnold, the baby, born to one of the zoo’s giraffe’s, Cheka, is not nursing. Arnold says the birth was fairly routine...

"The labor was a little longer than we normally have seen with some of our giraffes, but she seemed healthy and was breathing and responsive after the birth. It does take them a while to sort of get their feet under them and stand up."

But zookeepers felt like it was taking too long for the baby giraffe to stand.They observed her overnight and, since she still wasn’t standing and, therefore, unable to nurse, the animal care staff began giving her nutritional supplements to help her gain strength. And Arnold says they’ve helped her stand a few times…

"Doing some passive range of motion work with her legs to help them strengthen."

The mom and baby have been moved to the giraffe barn and are under constant observation. At last check, the calf still hadn’t stood on her own.The pair will be out of public view until the giraffe’s condition improves and stabilizes.23 giraffes have been born at Dickerson Park Zoo since 1997, fathered by the zoo’s current breeding male Stretch. There are currently 3 breeding females at the zoo, which participates in a conservation management program with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.