Baby giraffe born at Cincinnati Zoo

CINCINNATI - The Cincinnati Zoo is welcoming its newest member of the zoo family -- a baby giraffe -- born Friday morning.

Maasai giraffe mom, Tessa gave birth to her new calf at about 8:30 a.m. after going into labor at about 6:20 a.m. The baby, whose name has not yet been determined, and Tessa are both doing well and are healthy, said zoo spokesperson Tiffany Barnes.

"We are giving them plenty of space and time to bond and everyone is really excited," Barnes said.

Less than 30 minutes after the calf's birth, it was already walking and interacting with its mom and dad, Barnes added.

Zoo officials took to Twitter Friday morning to announce the giraffe's arrival. The zoo tweeted when Tessa, 5, went into labor and continued to update with photos and information as the baby was coming out and up until the newborn was being licked by mom.

This is Tessa's second calf. Her first calf, Zuri, was born in April 2011, but died in July 2011 after fracturing her leg at 7-weeks-old.

Giraffe give birth standing up, which means a nearly 6-foot fall for the newborn. A newborn calf can stand up and run within an hour of being born.

Although their numbers have decreased in the past century, giraffes are not currently endangered. Unlike many species, there is no true breeding season for the Maasai Giraffe and females can become pregnant beginning at just four years of age.

Follow the Cincinnati Zoo on Twitter at @CincinnatiZoo . Also, the zoo is using the hashtag " # giraffebirth " for updates on Tessa and the new baby.

Zoo officials announced the calf can be viewed by the public beginning Monday, Oct. 15 through the window outside the Giraffe Ridge exhibit. Depending on the health of the calf, both Tessa and her new baby may be outdoors in the next two weeks.

To watch a Cincinnati Zoo video of the calf's first hours of life, click on the video player below. (Note to mobile and tablet users: Open story in a browser to watch video.)

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