EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Paso Zoo has added a new member to its family! A healthy baby giraffe was born on Wednesday, April 19, marking the first time a giraffe has been born at the El Paso Zoo in the city’s history.

The city said that zoo staff had worked closely with the Species Survival Plan (SSP) to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.  Mom, Gigi, was closely monitored throughout the entire pregnancy, which lasted around 15 months and delivered the baby boy on April 19 at about 9 p.m. in the zoo’s hoof stock barn with dad, Juma, watching the entire time.

“In the last 30 years, the giraffe population in Africa has declined by more than 40% to approximately 100,000 animals. Giraffes are now extinct in seven African countries and all giraffe species are critically endangered,” El Paso Zoo Director Joe Montisano said. “This birth is significant not only for the El Paso Zoo but also for the overall giraffe population. Mom and baby appear to be doing great and the zoo couldn’t be more excited! It is not every day you have a 6-foot, 110-pound baby born.”

The entire giraffe barn has been “baby-proofed” including adding extra padding to the floor and to any area where the baby might hurt himself.

The zoo will be suspending the popular giraffe feeding encounters until the giraffe family settles in. The giraffe family, including the baby, will be on display as soon as the family is comfortable with the barn and each other, and the outside world.

To learn more about the El Paso Zoo, visit www.elpasozoo.org.