Two more giraffes, a male and a female, were born at the Fort Worth Zoo this month.
The male giraffe was born on July 1, weighing 145 pounds and standing exactly 6 feet tall. The female was born on July 11, weighing 132 pounds and standing 5 feet, 5 inches tall.
'I've never seen so many baby giraffes at a zoo," Addison Clement of Tallahassee, Florida said.
The two new calves, who have not yet been named, bring the baby count to three this summer after Lucchese's birth on May 7.
The latest news from around North Texas.
The two newest took their first steps into the African Savanna with the rest of the herd Friday morning.
"It's super exciting," African Savannah Mammals Keeper Jessica Baskett said. "During COVID, when we were shut down, we had a lot of time to let them relax and do their thing."
The International Union for Conservation of Nature and Giraffe Conservation Foundation estimates that the giraffe population in the wild has decreased by 30% over the last 20 years.
"Giraffes are going through it's called a 'silent extinction,'" Baskett explained. "So their populations in the wild have declined by over 40% in just the last decade."
In an effort to prevent extinction, the Fort Worth Zoo participates in a cooperative breeding program with other accredited zoos around the country in order to maintain a healthy, genetically diverse population of giraffes.
"It's a huge crisis," Baskett said. "And it's definitely one we want to get a handle on before its too late."
Since 2000, staff at the Fort Worth Zoo have facilitated the births of 26 giraffe calves, including Lucchese and the two new calves.