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Baby Giraffe Born at the Zoo

Baby giraffe
Marlee and her calf

Thank you for helping us choose a name for the calf. Her name is Poppy, after the Remembrance Poppy, a symbol of Memorial Day weekend, when the calf was born. Through our social media platforms, Poppy received 51% of the total 9,725 votes. Welcome to the herd, Poppy!


Posted June 2022

Baby giraffe
The calf before taking her first steps

The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce a reticulated giraffe birth on Friday, May 27.

The female calf was born in the early evening hours to mom, Marlee, and dad, Bahatika. This is Marlee’s third calf; her most recent calf, Maya, born in 2018, is part of MCZ’s current herd. On May 28, Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff completed the calf’s first exam, and recorded a weight of about 164 pounds, and a height of approximately 6-feet tall. Even though zookeepers haven’t seen the calf nursing during the day, she is “spunky and strong,” so staff know that she’s eating fine.

Marlee is 10 years old and arrived at MCZ in 2013 from Zoo Miami. Bahatika is 17 years old and arrived at MCZ in 2006 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

Baby giraffe

The Giraffe building will be open this week from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Because giraffes don’t like loud noise, Zoo Pride volunteers will help with noise control, so the calf can become more acclimated to her surroundings and comfortable with animal care staff. As the calf becomes more comfortable with visitors, building hours will be extended.

The calf has been spending most of her time with mom in the back area of the Giraffe building, not visible to the public. Both Marlee and the calf have the choice to go into the indoor habitat within view of visitors.

In the wild, giraffes are found throughout the savannas of Africa. Their numbers are in rapid decline in what has been termed: “the silent extinction.” Reflecting this trend, the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) global Red List of threatened species recently updated the giraffe’s status from “Least Concern” to “Vulnerable.”

Video: Meet the newest giraffe – in the first hours after her arrival.

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