It's a girl! Zoo Knoxville announces gender of baby giraffe

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Zoo Knoxville announced the gender of the first baby giraffe born at the zoo in 17 years.

The first baby giraffe was born at Zoo Knoxville in 17 years. (Zoo Knoxville)

"The 11-day-old baby is mastering the use of her long legs under the watchful eyes of her mother Frances and her caretakers in the zoo’s Grasslands Africa habitat. Her personality is already starting to emerge; she is described by curator Petty Grieve as inquisitive, adventurous, bold…and sleepy. After her short but energetic bursts exploring her new surroundings in the morning, she retires to the barn for a sequence of nursing and napping," said the announcement.

“We are celebrating the birth of our first giraffe calf in almost a generation,” said Lisa New, President and CEO. “This baby is a testament to what our zoo and the support of our community can do to ensure the survival of giraffes. When our guests visit the zoo, they are actively contributing to a larger conservation movement and this little giraffe is an inspiring ambassador.”

The new baby's parents are named Frances and Jumbe. The two were paired on the recommendation of the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a collaboration of zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) working to save giraffes from extinction.

The zoo said they won't be able to tell the gender of the baby giraffe for at least a few days. A name has not yet been chosen for the baby.

“We are very excited to share this news with our community,” says Phil Colclough, Director of Animal Care, Conservation and Education. “We are hopeful that we will welcome a healthy baby, who will be an important ambassador for giraffe conservation. With the serious threats giraffes in Africa are facing, this calf is critical to maintaining a healthy and viable population for the future."

The baby's birth marks the first for giraffes in 17 years at Zoo Knoxville.

Frances came to Zoo Knoxville in September of 2016 to be paired with the zoo’s 16-year-old male Jumbe.

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