ALBUQUERQUE, NM— Early afternoon visitors to the ABQ BioPark Zoo had the surprise opportunity to witness the birth of a reticulated giraffe on Friday, September 9. After showing signs of labor around 1 p.m., 17-year-old June gave birth to a healthy calf at 2:30 p.m. The calf will remain on exhibit with June and 2-year-old Camille.

The newborn calf was on its feet and walking within half an hour. Giraffes are native to the savanna (grasslands) of Africa, and even newborns must elude hungry predators. A newborn calf, which can weigh between 120-150 pounds at birth, will usually take its first steps within an hour of its birth.

Zoo veterinarians conducted an initial visual examination from the gate, but have yet to determine if the calf is male or female. Zookeepers report that the calf seems curious and confident, and is being well cared for by June, who has already raised six calves at the BioPark.

“June has always been a wonderful mother, so we had no concerns about the delivery or in her ability to care for the baby,” said Lisa Moore, senior zookeeper. “She is doing a great job of getting the baby up and moving and helping it to nurse.”

June arrived at the BioPark in 1995 from the Memphis Zoo in Tennessee. The calf’s father, 8-year-old “Buccaneer” was born at Busch Gardens.

The BioPark is an accessible facility and a division of the Cultural Services Department, City of Albuquerque, Richard J. Berry, Mayor. For more information, visit or call 311 locally or (505) 768-2000 (Relay NM or 711).

Caption: June and her 3-day-old calf on exhibit at the Zoo. Photo by Katie Mast courtesy of ABQ BioPark.