Male Giraffe Born at The Toledo Zoo

Date: 2009/12/26


Toledo, Ohio—The Toledo Zoo is pleased to announce the birth of a Masai giraffe. The male calf was born on Saturday, December 26 to five-year-old mother Elvira.


Both mother and baby are doing well, and Zoo officials are hopeful that the giraffe family, including nine-year-old father Mowgli, will be on exhibit this spring in the Zoo’s Africa! exhibit. The calf, named Enzi (which means “powerful and mighty” in Swahili), stood nearly six feet tall and weighed about 150 pounds at birth.


Because Elvira is a first-time mother, the Zoo's animal care staff has been monitoring her and Enzi closely to ensure that Elvira exhibits proper maternal behaviors. The calf arrived two or three weeks earlier than expected, and initially Elvira was not producing milk to feed him. He was supplemented with the early milk from a cow, called colostrum, which helped supply Enzi with needed antibodies. Over the course of the next several days Elvira began producing milk, and by Monday, December 28, Elvira was able to begin nursing on her own.
Elvira came from the Cleveland Zoo in 2004, and Mowgli came from the Toronto Zoo in 2001.Their breeding was recommended by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums (AZA) as part of a Population Management Program (PMP). Through these PMPs, the AZA is able to help ensure the long-term survival of the captive population, as well as the health of individual animals.

The average gestation period for giraffes is 15 months. Masai giraffes are the tallest animals on the planet, standing an average of 16 to 18 feet when fully grown. Despite their size, they can run at speeds up to 35 mph. They can be identified by their irregularly-shaped spots, which are as unique and identifiable as human fingerprints.


For more information, please visit or call (419) 385-4040. Lucas County residents are admitted free of charge each Monday from 10 a.m. to noon. ID showing proof of residency is required.


> to overview