Woodland Park Zoo’s 8-year-old giraffe, Tufani, is expecting her first baby sometime mid-May to early July.
The giraffe gestation period ranges from 14-15 months. The father is 4-year-old Dave, who arrived at the zoo in June 2014.
You can learn more about Tufani (too-fawn-ee) and Dave on the zoo’s blog.
To confirm Tufani’s pregnancy, animal care staff collected her fecal samples every other day for one month in the fall, when she was in her second trimester, and then sent the samples to a lab for testing. While the lab test confirmed Tufani’s pregnancy, the zoo’s animal care staff advises that animal pregnancies cannot be 100 percent confirmed until the baby is born. “Due to the long gestation period, signs of pregnancy can be difficult to detect early on,” said Katie Ahl, zookeeper at Woodland Park Zoo. “For those of us who work with Tufani on a daily basis we can see how her physical appearance has changed. That combined with the lab results make us confident she is pregnant.”
Though Tufani will not have a visible bump until closer to her birth window, animal care staff note her belly has started to round out. “If you know what you’re looking for, you can see it,” said Ahl. “She’s now in her third trimester so she’s really starting to show; and she’ll only get bigger from here.”
Tufani’s baby would mark the second viable giraffe birth at Woodland Park Zoo since 1997, the first being Misawa who was born in August 2013. Misawa, famously known as the “grumpy face” giraffe, captured the hearts of zoo visitors as they watched him grow from a 6-foot-tall curious calf into a 12-foot-tall loving, adventurous adult. In September 2015, Misawa moved to Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville, Texas to begin his own family. His father Chioke passed away before he was born but his mother Olivia still resides at Woodland Park Zoo; she is Tufani’s older sister.
Tufani will remain on exhibit at African Savanna with Dave and Olivia until she has the baby. Starting May 1, visitors can visit Tufani, Dave and Olivia at the up close giraffe experience (hours to be determined, visit www.zoo.org for more information).
Giraffes give birth while standing, and the calf drops 5 feet from the ground as it is born. About 6 foot tall at birth, infants usually stand within half an hour after birth and can run around with their moms several hours later.