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6'3" baby giraffe born at Santa Barbara Zoo

By Victoria Sanchez, KEYT NewsChannel 3 Anchor/Reporter, victoriasanchez@keyt.com
Published On: Apr 19 2013 07:29:25 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 20 2013 11:34:28 AM CDT

Giraffe baby boy born at Santa Barbara Zoo

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

There's a new addition at the Santa Barbara Zoo and everyone wanted a glimpse of the day old baby giraffe.

The baby is named Dane and was born just before 4 p.m. on Thursday. He weighs 156 pounds and is 6-foot-3.

The news spread quickly, and some children ran to the giraffe exhibit on Friday.

"I heard that one was born yesterday," said Kaitlyn Riley, 7, of Reno.

Zoo visitors were the first to notice Audrey was in labor.

"The first hoof was actually sticking out, shortly followed by the second hoof, and she went into some serious contractions. And within about two hours, roughly about two hours, she'd given birth to this beautiful calf," explained Dr. Julia Barnes, zoo veterinarian.

The Santa Barbara Zoo captured the whole event on video that showed the calf fall from a height of about 4 feet.

"He came out with a bit of speed, hit the ground. That's a good thing. Hitting the ground gives him a little jolt, helps him to want to breathe," said Barnes.

Out came a bouncing baby boy. But at first, zookeepers weren't sure. On Friday afternoon, the baby was checked and weighed.

If Dane turned out to be a girl, her name would have been Sunshine.

Although there were some stumbles along the way, the newborn got some encouragement from mom and took his first steps in just an hour.

The newborn isn't on exhibit just yet. Earlier this month, zookeepers showed off the baby-proofed giraffe barn, and that's exactly where mom and her new baby are.

"We're still working on that mom-and-baby bond, and because Audrey didn't nurse her first calf, we want to make sure she's going to allow this calf to," said Wendy Anderson, senior mammal keeper.

So far, both are doing well -- and another newborn should be along shortly.

"One down and one to go!" said Anderson with a smile.

That's right, one more pregnant giraffe.

"Betty-Lou is going to have a baby," said Jenna Riley, 5, of Reno.

Betty-Lou is showing signs she's almost ready to give birth, but it could still take a while.

Dane could be available to view as early as next week.

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