The Greenville Zoo has confirmed that Autumn, the zoo’s 13-year-old female Masai giraffe, is pregnant. The staff confirmed the pregnancy through hormone analysis after reviewing the zookeepers’ daily logs and are expecting the birth to occur sometime in early July.
Autumn was born at Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, MA on January 7, 2006, and was transferred to the Greenville Zoo in July 2007 as part of a breeding loan. On October 22, 2012, Autumn gave birth to her first calf, Kiko, who now resides at the Toronto Zoo. Autumn’s second pregnancy ended with a stillborn calf following a breech birth on August 20, 2014. Named Roho, the calf is remembered with a tree located near the entrance to the African Overlook. Her third calf, Tatu, was born on February 2, 2016, and was transferred to the Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, PA in 2017. Kiden, Autumn’s first calf with Miles, the zoo’s male Masai giraffe, was born January 31, 2018, and is expected to remain at the zoo for another year.
Miles was born at the Houston Zoo on January 30, 2009, and was transferred to the Greenville Zoo in September 2016 when he was recommended to breed with Autumn. Giraffes, like a majority of the animals at the Greenville Zoo, are part of a cooperative breeding program known as the Species Survival Program (SSP). The purpose of the cooperative breeding program is to monitor captive populations and make breeding recommendations based on genetic variability and spaces available at other accredited institutions to ensure a long-term viable population without removing animals from the wild. There are currently 118 Masai giraffes in zoos around the world: 65 females, 52 males and 1 undetermined. In addition to participating in the SSP, the Greenville Zoo has also contributed $6,687 to giraffe related conservation efforts over the past two years through its conservation fund.
In the past, Autumn’s calves had already been transferred to new homes when she gave birth; however, this time, Kiden will be present for the birth. “Every birth is special and unique and with Kiden remaining, this will be the first time that Autumn gives birth with her previous offspring still in tow,” said Greenville Zoo Administrator Jeff Bullock. “We are closely monitoring Autumn’s condition, which appears to be progressing well, so now we just wait and watch.”
The public can also watch via the zoo’s webcam at greenvillezoofoundation.org/Camera.
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Greenville Zoo Administrator