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Legacy lives on: Baby giraffe born at Jacksonville Zoo

Longtime beloved male giraffe 'Duke' sired babies before passing away

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It was the best day ever for News4Jax reporter Allyson Henning as she got to meet the Jacksonville Zoo's newest family member. 

A giraffe calf entered the world at 5:40 a.m. on Wednesday. He stood up for the first time at 6:20 a.m. and nursed at 7:11 a.m. The calf has not been officially named. 

Jacksonville Zoo says goodbye to beloved giraffe Duke

He weighs 187-pounds and is nearly 6’4” tall.

He is absolutely adorable and is sure to bring people from all over to see his exhibit when he is ready to shine. 

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His mother, Naomi, is doing well after giving birth. His father, Duke, passed away earlier this year due to degenerative arthritis.

“The arrival of our beloved Duke’s son is an especially moving way to honor his amazing legacy. We’re all looking forward to watching this little guy grow and develop”, according to Dan Maloney, Deputy Zoo Director.

Fun fact: the baby giraffe will soon be an older brother. Duke is apparently the father to another baby who has yet to be born.  

Naomi and the calf will be allowed to bond behind-the-scenes for a day and will probably spend the next two days in the side holding yard near the barn as the herd gets acquainted with the little one. Zoo officials expect the pair to be on exhibit with the rest of the herd by the weekend. 

ADORABLE!🦒💙 The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens announced its newest addition today! He was born early this morning and is already melting hearts. MORE CUTENESS: http://bit.ly/2Q7jG4B

Posted by WJXT4 The Local Station / News4JAX on Wednesday, May 15, 2019

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