A rare, 6-foot-tall Rothschild Giraffe was born at the Connecticut Conservation Center on Friday as an eager crowd of bystanders looked on with excitement.
The mother, a 6-year-old Rothschild giraffe named Petal, gave birth to the healthy female calf,
which stood and walked on its own within minutes of being born.
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"She's a great mom," Marcella Leone, founder and director of the center, told Greenwich Time. "She was very proud, trying to show off her newborn."
Petal, now a mother of two, started bonding immediately with the calf, cleaning the baby off with her 18-inch tongue as it nursed, Leone said.
Zoo staff said the calf bore a strong resemblance to her mother, Greenwich Time reported.
"It's really astonishing how a huge animal delicately and in such a nurturing way approaches caring for her calf," Leone said.
The curious young calf, which could grow as tall as 18 feet, reportedly approached humans within 24 hours of being born.
The newborn is the first giraffe to be born at the off-exhibit conservation center and possibly the first in the state as a whole. When the animal is acclimated, it will be introduced to a herd of five adult giraffes at the conservation center, Greenwich Time reported.
The conservation set up a competition to choose the giraffe's name
. The contestant with the closest guess for the day and time of the animal's birth will have the chance to name the newborn and visit the zoo with family.
Rothschild Giraffes are an extremely endangered giraffe subspecies, with less than 700 still in the wild, all of which live in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda.
Features that distinguish Rothschild Giraffes from other giraffe subspecies include distinct dark patches with bright whitish channels between them and pale lower legs that make the animals look like they're wearing white stockings.
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