Giraffe Calf Highlights Baby Boom at Jacksonville Zoo

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed its first reticulated giraffe born in two years, born Friday to 13-year-old Luna.

Photos courtesy of Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed its first reticulated giraffe born in two years. The calf was born Friday to 13-year-old Luna.

Keepers observed Luna in labor while on exhibit around 10:45 a.m. The giraffe overlook closed to guests to give Luna a quiet environment, and the calf was born at 11:35 a.m. He stood for the first time at 12:06 p.m. and started nursing at 12:28 p.m. Guests were given the opportunity to watch the calf get to his feet. Mom and calf were then moved to their holding barn.

Luna is an experienced mother as this is her sixth calf. She was born at Roosevelt Park Zoo in 2007 and came to Jacksonville in 2009. The sire is Dixon, who was relocated in June 2020.

Veterinary staff conducted a neonatal exam Friday and confirmed the calf is a male who appears to be in good health. His current weight is around 165 pounds and his height is 6 feet tall.

“This birth was a special experience that we were excited to share with our guests. Luna and her calf are doing great, and we are looking forward to watching this little one grow,” said Corey Neatrour, Assistant Curator of Mammals.

This is the 44th giraffe calf born in the Zoo’s history. This species has been at the Zoo since 1957. Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world and can reach up to 18 feet in height and up to 4,000 pounds in weight. Their gestation period is approximately 15 months. Newborn calves grow quickly and can almost double their height in one year.

Mom and calf are currently spending time bonding behind the scenes, however guests may be able to see the calf after Saturday from Giraffe Overlook in Savanna Blooms Garden.

The giraffe is just one of many births celebrated this year. In recent months the Zoo has welcomed a western lowland gorilla, yellow-backed duiker, Angolan colobus monkey, a critically-endangered cotton-top tamarin, a critically-endangered pancake tortoise, cownose rays, and many chicks including penguins, black-faced ibis, roseate spoonbills, boat-billed herons, and golden-breasted starlings.

About Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens

For over 100 years, the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens has aimed to inspire the discovery and appreciation of wildlife through innovative experiences in a caring environment. Starting in 1914 with an animal collection of one red deer fawn, the Zoo now has more than 2,000 rare and exotic animals and 1,000 species of plants, boasting the largest botanical garden in Northeast Florida. The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens is a nonprofit organization and a portion of every ticket sold goes to the over 45 conservation initiatives Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens supports around the world, and here in NE Florida. JZG is proud to be an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. For more information, visit