Giraffe unexpectedly gave birth in front of zoo visitors

(CNN) — Visitors to the Virginia Zoo had a once-in-a-lifetime experience after a giraffe unexpectedly gave birth right in front of them.

Imara, an endangered Maasai giraffe, gave birth to her ninth calf on Sept. 9, according to a Facebook post from the zoo.

Maasai giraffes, one of four giraffe subspecies, are listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Giraffes, found in Tanzania and Kenya, have suffered significant population declines due to poaching and habitat loss.

The calf was born with a weight of 55 kilos and a height of 1.80 meters, which is very appropriate considering that giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world.

The calf was named Tisa, which means “nine” in Swahili, as a nod to her mother’s parity and her birthday, according to a zoo news release.

Tisa is “healthy and full of personality,” says the zoo. Shortly after her birth, visitors were able to see the newborn get up and start nursing.

And since September 19 he is already learning to run, says the press release.

Imara and the calf’s father, Billy, were paired on the recommendation of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Species Survival Plan, the zoo explains. As the species is in danger of extinction, “the birth of this new calf is especially important.”

With Tisa’s inclusion, the Virginia Zoo now houses a total of five giraffes.

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