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Sacramento Zoo gets tall addition with birth of giraffe

Newborn giraffe Rocket makes landing at Sacramento Zoo

A baby Masai giraffe named Rocket is introduced to guests at the Sacramento Zoo on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Rocket is the 19th giraffe born at the zoo since 1964.
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A baby Masai giraffe named Rocket is introduced to guests at the Sacramento Zoo on Thursday, May 19, 2016. Rocket is the 19th giraffe born at the zoo since 1964.

Congratulations to giraffe parents Chifu and Shani on the delivery over the weekend of their spindly legged newborn calf at the Sacramento Zoo.

Weighing in at 163 pounds and approximately 6 feet tall, the male offspring was born at 8:40 a.m. Sunday. Shortly after birth, the youngest and tallest spring arrival at the zoo was standing on its own.

Mother and son will bond in the heated giraffe barn.

Zookeepers watched Shani around the clock in the time shortly before she gave birth. Gestation for a giraffe is about 14 months.

The zoo now has six giraffes, including the newborn and his parents, who are Masai giraffes. The other three are smaller reticulated giraffes.

The still-unnamed baby giraffe is the 19th giraffe born at the zoo since the species was first brought to Sacramento.

“This is joyous occasion,” said Matt McKim, the zoo’s Animal Collection director. “The two are not currently visible to the public; we will take cues from dam and the calf as to when they are ready to make their public debut. We hope it will be in the coming weeks.”

The baby giraffe is not the only spring arrival. Four Red River hogs were born on April 3. The little piglets, two of each sex, weighed between 2 and 2.5 pounds each at birth.

Drawing upon “Star Wars” inspiration, the two males are named Poe and Kylo, and the females are Finn and Rey. The hoglets are on display.

They will grow to weigh 120 to 250 pounds and reach 3 to 5 feet in length. Piglets are brown with yellowish stripes, coloring for camouflage in the wild, according to a zoo blog.

Adults go hog-wild with their appearance, growing long, tufted ears and reddish-brown fur.

The hogs are native to Africa. Red River hog populations are in decline due to being killed as agricultural pests and the commercial bush meat trade.

Mike Owyang, education specialist at the zoo, says springtime mornings are when animals are active. Zoo attendance ramps up every spring.

Two-year-old male giraffe, Potoka, was clearly excited about the warmer weather. He was captured on video running around the giraffe outdoor habitat at Brookfield Zoo near Chicago, Illinois. Potoka and the other reticulated giraffes are native to

A Masai giraffe gave birth to calf Wednesday morning at The Greenville Zoo in Greenville, S.C.

Bill Lindelof: 916-321-1079, @Lindelofnews

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