Kita the baby reticulated giraffe didn't waste any time getting started with her new life at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo.
Zookeepers discovered her mother, Zahra, was in labor when they arrived for work at 7 a.m. Aug 6, and Kita was born about 90 minutes later, the zoo said in its baby announcement. Within 30 minutes, Kita was standing up on her own, and she started nursing from her mother within her first hour.
That quick progress seems to fit with her name: In the Swahili language of Africa, Kita means "to stand firm,” the zoo announcement said. Kita also is named after her maternal great-grandmother.
Both Kita and Zahra are doing well, Dr. Kami Fox, the zoo's staff veterinarian, said in the zoo's announcement.
During her first veterinary checkup, Kita measured 6 feet, 1 inch tall and about 170 pounds, the zoo reported.
"The exam on Monday showed that all her (Kita's) vitals were within the normal range, and she is progressing as expected,” Fox said.
Zahra will continue to take care of Kita off exhibit for now, but zoo officials hope mother and daughter will be out in the giraffe exhibit before the zoo closes for the season Oct. 8, the zoo announcement said.
With Kita's birth, the zoo now is home to eight reticulated giraffes.
Giraffes in zoos and animal parks are becoming important because poaching, habitat destruction, and wars and unrest among people in Africa are causing a rapid decline in giraffe populations in the wild, the zoo announcement said. The zoo has been making donations to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to assist it with giraffe research and developing ways to save animals in the wild.
Zoo hours through 9 a.m.-7 p.m. daily now through Labor Day, and then 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. daily through Oct. 8.