The Maryland Zoo announced the name for the new baby giraffe recently born at the zoo. The zoo had asked the public to help name the 6-foot 1-inch, 125-pound baby by voting on possible names.
What will the female reticulated giraffe calf be called?
Willow! Willow was selected out of six possible names by 32 percent of the 26,311 ballots cast as of 8 a.m. Feb. 23, when voting closed, according to a statement by The Maryland Zoo.
Willow was an option put forth by the Giraffe House animal care team members because willow trees are slender and graceful, like the newborn calf.
The Maryland Zoo has since released that the Giraffe House will be open for zoo guests starting Friday, Feb. 24, to see Juma and her calf with limited viewing.
“We have been observing Juma and her calf while bringing in small groups of zoo staff this week,” said Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Juma is certainly keeping a close eye on visitors, but she and Willow do not seem to be bothered by slow moving groups of people in the building.”
The zoo is still operating on winter hours through the end of February, open Friday-Monday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., with a special $10 admission deal. Zoo staff are asking visitors who want to see the new baby and her mother to be patient.
Since Juma is a first-time mother, the Animal Care team wants to be sure Willow is introduced to the public in a way that keeps the herd comfortable and at ease.
“Because this is new for all of us, there will be a few restrictions with regard to entry in the Giraffe House for the short term,” Cantwell said. “We ask that everyone bear with us until Juma and Willow are fully acclimated to the sights and sounds of visitors on a regular basis.”
Other possible names for the new baby giraffe that the public voted on were:
- Imara (ee MAH rah) – which means strong, resolute in Swahili
- Safara (sah FAR ah) – a name of African origin which means fire
- Ruby – because she’s a rare and precious gem
- Opal – a name from Sanskrit literally meaning “jewel”
- Dottie – because she has a dark dot positioned just above each hoof
Visit the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore’s website to see pictures of the baby.
Even though some animals are not on exhibit during the winter, there is still plenty to see with Keeper Chats and Animal Feeding programs scheduled for Friday-Monday. Find program times at the Maryland Zoo events page.
This post was updated Thursday, Feb. 23, to reflect the announcement of the new name and information about weekend visitation for the Giraffe House.