JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the second time in a week, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is welcoming a newborn giraffe.
The latest addition, a female, was born shortly after 1 p.m. Friday. To the surprise of visitors, the calf was born on exhibit so guests were able to see it all happen right before their eyes.
According to zoo staff, this calf is the fourth for mother Luna and an impressive 18th for sire, Duke. Because Luna was not in labor in the morning, she was encouraged to roam freely with the herd.
But the baby couldn't wait. And when the calf's front hooves made an appearance about 12:30 p.m., staff called away the rest of the herd to give Luna some space and privacy.
Zoo staff said another female, Spock, was nearby and came over to greet the youngster and help with the cleaning process.
"Spock has never had any offspring of her own, but has been an excellent 'auntie' figure to many calves over the years," the zoo said in a news release.
Luna and her calf will stay on exhibit for as long as they're comfortable. They'll be joined by a male calf born Nov. 19 and his mother, Naomi, and Spock until they're introduced to the rest of the herd.
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