ASHEBORO, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – The North Carolina Zoo has a towering addition to its animal family. A 13-year-old giraffe gave birth to her calf on Saturday, May 20.  

The newborn is already about 6 feet tall and weighs 145 pounds. 

The calf was born to parents Leia (cow) and Jack (bull). The zoo reported that the first-time mom and her offspring are healthy and currently bonding behind the scenes. The zoo has had 12 previous giraffe births, making this one lucky No. 13.

The zoo’s animal care team will determine when mom and calf will join the herd, or tower, of giraffes on habitat and in public view. 

The zoo’s Giraffe Zookeepers Kristi Myers, Jason Balder, Mary Wilson, and Kelly Davis made a joint statement on the calf. 

“Leia and her calf are doing amazingly well,” they said. “Our team could not be prouder of how attentive Leia has been with her firstborn. Mom and calf are bonding behind the scenes.”  

(Courtesy N.C. Zoo)

They continued: “This new arrival brings the team lots of happiness and excitement to have some young, spunky energy around. The rest of the giraffe tower — Jack, Turbo and Amelia — are all very curious of the newbie and are bopping noses whenever they can.” 

The public is encouraged to tune into the zoo’s social media channels for photos, updates and information about how the calf will be named. 

Leia was born in 2009 at Zoo Miami and arrived at the N.C. Zoo in 2014. Jack was born in 2008 at Dickerson Park Zoo and arrived in Asheboro in 2009. 

Giraffe calves are typically 5 to 6 feet tall and 150 to 200 pounds when born. This calf appears to be within those healthy parameters. Giraffes are pregnant for a long 14 to 15 months. 

Fun fact: No two giraffes have the same coat pattern, like human fingerprints. The animals are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are very social animals, traveling in large towers of all ages and sexes. 

At the N.C. Zoo, the giraffes are in the same habitat as zebras and an ostrich.