Giraffe calf makes debut at San Diego Zoo

SAN DIEGO - A 10-day-old female Masai giraffe at the San Diego Zoo took her first venture around her exhibit Tuesday, meeting other members of her herd and running, kicking and appearing comfortable with her new surroundings, according to park officials.

The unnamed calf was born Dec. 22 and was in a restricted area of the habitat until Tuesday, when animal care staff felt she was old enough to venture into the larger space.

Keepers report she is healthy and progressing well, even though she is still getting used to her legs -- evidenced by a few spills taken during her morning run.

The lanky youngster weighed in at 157 pounds at birth, and stood 6 feet 1 inch tall. Zoo officials say that by the time she's 6 months old, she may weigh as much as 500 pounds and stand 7 to 7-and-a-half-feet tall.

The zoo said Masai giraffes are native to Africa and are threatened in some areas. Also known as the Kilimanjaro giraffe, the Masai giraffe is the largest giraffe subspecies and tallest land mammal on Earth.

She was the 10th calf born to her mother, Bahati. The father is the herd sire, Silver.

Other giraffes in the herd include two adult females and a female youngster born in May.

Visitors can see the calf on exhibit in the zoo's Urban Jungle exhibit.

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