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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo - the Big 200

Many zoos have what you could think of as a specialty of the house - a species of animal that they are uniquely associated with.  Memphis Zoo has hippos.  Zoo Knoxville has red pandas.  The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, located in Colorado Springs, CO, has giraffes.

Not that giraffes are considered unusually difficult to breed, but they are the animal for which this high-altitude zoo is best known.  As the births racked up over the years, it was inevitable that you'd eventually get to a special number.  In this case, that number is 200.  Today, the zoo welcomed the birth of its 200th giraffe calf.  They decided to celebrate by going live.  Didn't we already see this movie?

"Celebrate" and "going live" aren't two phrases that I would use together in describing an animal birth.  There are plenty of armchair zoologists out there who have seen five minutes of footage of giraffes on Animal Planet and have decided that's the equivalent of a veterinary degree, or of 5-10 years zookeeping experience (which, if you're an African ungulate keeper at Cheyenne Mountain, probably represents a lot of giraffe births).  Lots of frantic demands for the keepers to intervene because, I dunno, the baby isn't doing somersaults five minutes after making a six-foot drop into the world.  My favorite was the guy who confidently announced to the world that the baby was about to get stomped to death by mom, because that's obviously what happens all the time, and is why giraffes no longer exist.

If I was a zookeeper involved in the birth, I'd go crazy looking at the comments, and probably be tempted to give a smart-ass response to each one.  That being said, if I was a zookeeper involved in the birth, I doubt I'd actually be looking at facebook or YouTube.  My eyes would be glued to a fourteen-foot tall blonde - and the wobbly, slimy, and utterly lovable load she just deposited on the giraffe barn floor.  Enjoy!

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