San Diego Zoo visitors were treated to a rare sight on Monday: The birth of a giraffe.
The calf was born at around 3 p.m., with a crowd soon gathering to watch the infant stand and take its first steps, a leap typically made during the first hours of its life.
While an adult male can reach up to 18 feet in height, newborn giraffes are typically in the neighborhood of 6 feet tall, weighing somewhere between 110-165 pounds.
“We got there around 2:30, and as I came though the gate, a worker came though the gate and said, ‘I saw the baby giraffe born!’, so I hustled through the gate,” said Rosemary Bystrak, a zoo and San Diego Zoo Safari Park regular and longtime contributor to NBC 7’s SoundDiego music platform, who sent photos to her old colleagues.
About a hundred people were standing near the giraffe enclosure, quietly anticipating the baby’s first steps when Bystrak arrived.
“Mom just kept encouraging the baby, the baby kept trying and tipping over,” Bystrak said, adding that the toddler made seven or eight such attempts during the course of an hour before, as she put it, “he stuck the landing.”
A short time later, baby was nursing and, by 5 p.m., both mother and child walked together into the private area of the animal enclosure.
The zoo did not immediately respond to NBC7’s request for comment and more details about the birth, including the new giraffe's name, its health condition and the name of its parents.