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Meet The Cincinnati Zoo's New Baby Giraffe Fennessey

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Tana Weingartner
/
WVXU
Four-day-old Fennessy makes his debut in the yard at Giraffe Ridge.

The Cincinnati Zoo is naming its baby male giraffe "Fennessey" in celebration of conservationists Julian and Stephanie Fennessy. The announcement comes on World Giraffe Day, which they founded.

Fennessy was introduced to the public Friday, four days after being born on June 17 to 12-year-old "Tessa" at 2 a.m. following about an hour of labor. He weighs 147 pounds and is about six feet tall. Both mother and baby are doing well, the zoo says.

"It's a really fun day," says Senior Keeper Jenna Wingate. "This is my sixth giraffe calf and all five before this were females so I'm really excited to be a part of a little baby boy giraffe growing up, seeing if there's any differences in their personalities - if he's spunkier or anything like that."

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Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
/
WVXU
Fennessy and mom, Tessa, are both doing well following the June 17 birth.

Wingate says it's particularly special that Fennessey was born so close to World Giraffe Day.

"Giraffes actually have experienced a 30% or more decrease in their population in just 30 years, so the fact that we can highlight them and this silent extinction - a lot of people don't know that they're becoming very endangered - it's really exciting that we have him to show that there is hope and (to have) the opportunity to get everyone else really excited about giraffe and conservation."

Fennessy is now on exhibit, though he and all the Masai giraffe are free to come and go between the outdoor yard and indoor facility.
 

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Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU
/
WVXU
He's expected to meet father "Kimba" in the coming days.

The Cincinnati Zoo reports Fennessy is the 16th giraffe born at the zoo since 1889 and Tessa's fourth baby. "Cece," an 8-year-old, is also expecting and due in November.

As a male, it's uncertain if Fennessy will stay at the Cincinnati Zoo. Once he reaches reproductive maturity in five to six years, Wingate says he could be sent to live or breed with another herd elsewhere. That determination will be made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan in concert with the zoo.