Audubon Nature Institute welcomes newborn giraffe named ‘Hope’

Audubon Nature Institute welcomes newborn giraffe named ‘Hope’
Audubon Nature Institute Starts Spring with Giraffe Birth at Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center (Source: Audubon Nature Institute)

NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) -While life has been put on pause for many of us, it continues at Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in Lower Coast Algiers.

Sue Ellen, a middle-aged giraffe, has given birth to her second calf.

The 6-foot-tall (a typical height for a newborn) female reticulated giraffe calf weighed in at an impressive 189 pounds when she arrived on the morning of April 6
The 6-foot-tall (a typical height for a newborn) female reticulated giraffe calf weighed in at an impressive 189 pounds when she arrived on the morning of April 6 (Source: Audubon Nature Institute)

The 6-foot-tall (a typical height for a newborn) female reticulated giraffe calf weighed in at 189 pounds when she arrived April 6 at the FMASSC campus on the West Bank of New Orleans.

“Things can feel very overwhelming right now,’’ said Michelle Hatwood, curator of the Species Survival Center. “But life does go on, and we have essential staff coming to work, so our animals receive the best care every single day.’’

Hatwood and her staff have known for 15 months that a calf was on the way, but a giraffe’s 14-16-month gestation period can make it tough to pinpoint a likely delivery date.

Sue Ellen and her new calf, named “Hope,” are part of the Species Survival Plan administered by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The plan ensures healthy, genetically diverse animal populations throughout its accredited facilities.

“What name could be more fitting than ‘Hope” in these challenging times?” said Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman. “Hope is what has sustained our community through seemingly insurmountable crises in the past and what we must hold onto as we continue on in the coming days and weeks. May we all take comfort in the reminder that, even in the darkest of days, life continues, undaunted.”

The species occupied much of the African continent several decades ago, but giraffe currently face threats to survival including habitat loss, poaching, human encroachment, and disease.

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