The first day of summer Saturday also marks the first World Giraffe Day, and the San Diego Zoo has special reason to celebrate: its new baby giraffe.
Of course, baby is a misleading word, for this calf would certainly be the biggest on an animal preschool playground. Born June 16, the cutie already stands 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighs 146 pounds.
The yet-to-be-named giant is his mother Harriet’s second calf, and his father is the herd’s sire, Silver.
To honor its newest member and World Giraffe Day, the zoo opened up its giraffe barn, giving guests a behind-the-scenes look and a chance to ask the keepers questions about the six Masai giraffes.
The purpose of the new holiday is to raise awareness about the tallest mammal and the challenges facing the species.
According to the zoo, giraffe populations have been in decline since the late 1990s, dropping from about 140,000 to less than 80,000.
Experts blame habitat loss and competition with livestock for the decrease.