Blank Park Zoo
Blank Park Zoo

Giraffe Born at Blank Park Zoo

January 22, 2021

Giraffe Born at Blank Park Zoo
Photos and video:

For Immediate Release

DES MOINES, Iowa (January 21, 2021) – Blank Park Zoo is announcing the birth of a giraffe calf on Monday, January 18.

“This is terrific news to begin the New Year,” said Anne Shimerdla, president and CEO of Blank Park Zoo. “The calf appears to be healthy and quickly passed all the major milestones for a giraffe calf which include learning to stand and walk within an hour of birth and nursing from mom regularly.”

Just 36 hours after birth, keepers and veterinary staff performed a neonatal exam and determined the calf’s height is six feet and weight is 125 lbs. The calf’s mother, Skye, is a six year-old giraffe, who has lived at Blank Park Zoo since 2015. This is her first calf. Jakobi, the father, is 15 years-old and has previously sired several calves.

“We are fortunate that the birthing process was quick and Skye has been a great mother, allowing the calf to nurse quickly,” said Dr. Drew Gall, zoo veterinarian.

Beginning January 28, Blank Park Zoo will release several possible names and will ask the public to vote on their favorite. Voting will be free, and people will be able make a donation in honor of the new calf. More information will soon be available on

“We are so excited to welcome this healthy boy to our herd,” said Kayla Freeman, supervisor of large mammals. “It has been refreshing to watch Skye become such a great mom and Zola our other female giraffe is also doting and investing so much interest in him. We can’t wait our community to meet him.”

Currently the Blumenthal indoor giraffe viewing area is closed to the public as Skye and the calf are bonding, but plans are underway for the public ‘first look’ in a couple weeks.

About Giraffe
Giraffe are the tallest land mammal and are herbivores. According IUCN, the population of giraffe has suffered a dramatic decline in the wild of 35-40 percent since 1985 due to poaching, human population growth, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation and habitat degradation. It is estimated that less than 100,000 giraffe remain.

About Blank Park Zoo

The mission of Blank Park Zoo is to inspire an appreciation of the natural world through conservation, education, research and recreation. Zoo hours: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. Admission rates are $14 for adults, $8 for children under 12, and $11 for seniors and active military. Children one year and under and Blank Park Zoo members are free. The Zoo is located at 7401 SW 9th St., Des Moines, IA 50315. Visit the Zoo online at The Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) The AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization that sets rigorous, professional standards for zoos and aquariums. The AZA is building North America's largest wildlife conservation movement by engaging and inspiring the 143 million annual visitors to its member institutions and their communities to care about and take action to help protect wildlife.


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