Giraffe born Sunday at San Diego Zoo


San Diego Zoo visitors got an unexpected treat Sunday afternoon with the birth of a baby giraffe.

The 157-pound boy was born about 1:30 p.m. The mother is Harriet, an experienced mom who has had four previous babies, the zoo said. It’s the first baby for father Fred.

Among those on hand for the event was Teresa Ortega, who belongs to a Facebook group of San Diego County photographers, “Best places to photograph in San Diego.”

Ortega wrote on the page that she got photos by placing her daughter on her shoulders and giving her a smartphone.

“Fred was prancing around with excitement,” Ortega wrote.

Ortega said in Monday that she and her daughter were leaving the giraffe area before she learned what was happening.

“As soon as we started leaving, a bunch of (zoo) employees starting coming in,” she said. “We didn’t know what was going on and they were just smiling.”

Ortega said she and her daughter stayed for the entire birthing process.

Quite a crowd had gathered, preventing Ortega from seeing much. That’s when she had the idea of letting her daughter take the photos, perched on her shoulders.

The zoo keeps giraffes at both its Balboa Park location and the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, east of Escondido.

The most recent birth before this took place in late January at the Safari Park. Mother Acacia gave birth to a boy, who later developed signs of illness. He was examined at the Safari Park’s veterinary hospital. But the length of separation broke the maternal bond, and that giraffe is now being hand-raised by keepers.