UPDATE: A second healthy female giraffe was born Friday, Nov. 24 at the zoo.
ORIGINAL STORY: Everyone at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has something extra special to be thankful for this Thanksgiving week.
The zoo is celebrating the birth of its 40th giraffe. The male reticulated giraffe calf was born in the early hours of November 19 to his mother, Naomi.
Naomi has had five previous calves. The calf’s father, Duke, has had 16 previous calves.
The calf measured 6’4” tall and weighed 191 pounds. That’s exactly the same height as his brother Newton, born in June 2016, according to the zoo.
“He’s doing beautifully,” said zoo spokeswoman JJ Vitale.
If mother and calf continue to do well, the zoo hopes to add them to the giraffe exhibit in time for Thanksgiving Day.
A name is expected to be chosen for the calf on April 8 at the 22nd annual Exzooberation celebration, where supporters will have an opportunity to bid to name the calf.
The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is open Thanksgiving Thursday and Friday, Nov. 24, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Children receive free admission to the zoo through the end of November with the purchase of an adult ticket as part of the Kids Free November promotion.