Baby giraffe born at Jacksonville Zoo

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has announced the birth of a male reticulated giraffe on Wednesday afternoon.

The calf weighs about 145 pounds, is 6 feet tall and is doing well, zoo officials said.

Guests riding the Zoo Train may see the calf and its mother in the outdoor holding area, pending weather conditions or feeding or health care requirements. The naming rights for the calf will be auctioned off on April 28 at ExZOOberation, the Zoo's largest evening adult fundraiser.

This is the second offspring for the mother, 5-year-old Naomi, since she arrived at the zoo in October 2006. The calf's father is Duke, the 14-year-old patriarch of the giraffe herd, who has now sired a total of seven offspring since he came to the Jacksonville Zoo in April 2003.

The Zoo now has nine giraffes in its collection. This is the 31st giraffe born at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens.

"The neonatal or 'well baby' exam has been completed, and the calf is off to a good start," said Tony Vecchio, executive director of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. "The calf was standing on all fours within one hour of the birth and is now walking, sitting, standing and nursing properly. The keepers and animal health care staff will continue to monitor the newborn closely."

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