Miami-Dade County

Giraffe No. 50 born at Zoo Miami. It’s a girl!

Mother and daughter bond moments after delivery. Sabra (left) gave birth to her baby giraffe at Zoo Miami Friday.
Mother and daughter bond moments after delivery. Sabra (left) gave birth to her baby giraffe at Zoo Miami Friday. Courtesy Zoo Miami

Ron Magill crows like a new papa.

After all, not many “dads” get to watch their “babies” give birth to 50 — count ’em, 50 — giraffes, but in the Zoo Miami communications director’s 37-year-career at the popular attraction, that’s how many giraffes have been born.

On Friday, an as-yet unnamed female giraffe was born to proud parents Titan, 4 1/2, and Sabra, 5. Baby came in at 138 pounds and nearly six feet tall.

She’s beautiful!” Magill said Friday afternoon. “First of all, this is the first baby for Titan, the father, and I photographed Titan being born. Mom Sabra is a great mom. All the other giraffes in her herd are curious about the baby. They all come and lick her and the baby loves all that attention.”

What many do not know is that giraffes, who gestate for about 15 months, rarely, if ever, relax on the ground while giving birth. The baby simply falls about four to six feet to the floor with a thud.

There are no vets in the African bush so something has got to kickstart baby’s life. So when it falls it starts breathing. That’s nature’s way and it’s wonderful.

Ron Magill, Zoo Miami

It’s quite unlike the comparatively gentle thwack on the bottom human babies receive in the hospital for that first cry and healthy intake of air.

“Mothers don’t lay down and it’s like a big water balloon hitting the floor but in reality it is nature’s way. There are no vets in the African bush so something has got to kickstart baby’s life. So when it falls, it starts breathing. That’s nature’s way and it’s wonderful,” Magill said.

Magill is already enamored. “When they are born, their horns are flat against their head. All of a sudden the horns stand up. Such beautiful animals. Huge eyebrows. Expressive eyes. She’s growing into her skin and is absolutely adorable. One of the greatest pleasures is to be here and watch a new life come into the herd.”

Howard Cohen: 305-376-3619, @HowardCohen

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