UPDATED: Cincinnati Zoo's Newborn Giraffe Makes First Outdoor Appearance

Dec 2, 2019

Updated Dec. 2, 3 p.m.

The Cincinnati Zoo's baby giraffe has a name.

The male calf will be called "Theo."

"We picked the name Theo because it means 'divine gift,' " says Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals. "He was the gift that our team needed following the death of the calf's dad a week before he arrived."

The Cincinnati Zoo's newborn giraffe made its public debut Nov. 25. Zoo visitors who happened through Giraffe Ridge were surprised as the two-day-old calf emerged from seclusion unannounced to explore the yard for the first time.

"Dad, it's a baby!" one little boy exclaimed to his father as the baby, born Nov. 23, followed its mother and the other members of the herd into the yard.

Nearby, toddler Lucas Young and aunt Leah Barry discussed names.

"How about Rapunzel?" Barry asked. "No," Young replied. "What about Claire?" "No." "What about Dori?" "No."

Young, it turns out, thought the baby was a boy. We now know he was right. 

The newborn giraffe gets a little nudge to keep moving as it explores the yard for the first time.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

When Theo first appeared, the animal's sex hasn't been determined, according to zookeeper Amanda Weisel. Keepers made a list of names and voted on a winner.

The baby spent 15-20 minutes exploring before following the herd back indoors. Weisel says the trip was a success.

"(It went) as good as we could've hoped," she says. "Nobody is showing aggression. Mom is OK with the fact that the other (giraffes) are around. Sometimes the moms can get aggressive just being protective but she's not. She's keeping the baby close but she's doing well."

The herd also appears to be accepting the baby, she adds.

The zoo says the six-foot-tall calf stood within an hour after birth and began nursing soon afterward.
Credit Tana Weingartner / WVXU

This is "Cece's" second calf and the second calf born at the zoo this year. Five-month-old "Fenn" was born to mom "Tessa" in June.

The zoo says the birth is lifting the spirits of those in the Africa department who are still mourning the death last week of "Kimba," the zoo's male giraffe.