Masai giraffe is pregnant, Toronto Zoo announces on World Giraffe Day
Mstari when she was being introduced to the public as a brand new calf at the Toronto Zoo in 2013. Only time will tell if the new calf to be born next spring shares its mother's good looks! (Toronto Zoo)
Alexandra Mae Jones, CTVNews.ca
Published Friday, June 21, 2019 9:47AM EDT
Last Updated Friday, June 21, 2019 10:59AM EDT
The Toronto Zoo is celebrating World Giraffe Day with a special announcement: one of their Masai giraffes is pregnant.
It is the first pregnancy for Mstari, the expectant mother. She is five months into a 15-month pregnancy, which means zoo visitors won’t be meeting the new calf until 2020. The birth is expected sometime next spring.
The Toronto Zoo said in a press release that they are prepared for this to be a dramatic pregnancy, “since (as with all first-time moms) it is unknown how Mstari will react to the arrival of the baby.”
In the meantime, excited zookeepers will be figuring out how best to calf-proof the giraffe habitat in anticipation of the new arrival.
Eric Cole, Acting Director of Wildlife and Welfare, says this pregnancy is an important one.
“Masai giraffes are under increasing pressure due to habitat loss and illegal hunting,” Cole said in the release. “It is important to educate the public on their plight in the wild and do everything we can to prevent the threats they face and halt declining populations.”
Masai giraffes are considered endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature. Illegal hunting and loss of habitat have contributed to a more than 50 per cent decline in their numbers in the wild over the past 30 years, according to the zoo. There are fewer than 35,000 Masai giraffes in the wild now, the zoo said.
Mstari has spent her whole life at the Toronto Zoo, where she was born in 2013. Her name means “Stripes” in Swahili. The father-to-be is a giraffe called Kiko, who was originally born in 2012 at the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina.
The Toronto Zoo frequently holds public naming contests for its newborn animals. In March, a Grevy’s zebra foal was named Obi, the Star Wars themed name beating out three other options for the crown.
The Toronto Zoo has helped bring 19 giraffes into the world since 1974, and Mstari’s new calf will be the very first third-generation birth at the zoo.