It's a Girl! Toronto Zoo Welcomes Giraffe Calf Nicknamed Baby Long Legs

Baby Long Legs is taking the world by storm!

On Tuesday morning, the Toronto Zoo's 6-year-old giraffe named Mstari welcomed a "healthy" female calf. The baby is the first for the new mom and the giraffe father Kiko, 7, who came to the Canadian zoo from the Greenville Zoo in South Carolina five years ago. The zoo has nicknamed the calf "Baby Long Legs" on Instagram and Facebook but has yet to reveal the baby's real name.

Both mom and her newborn calf are doing well as zookeepers care for the animals while the park is closed to visitors due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the zoo.

"This birth is an important contribution to a genetically healthy Masai giraffe population, especially as Mstari is the most genetically valuable giraffe in North America," Dolf DeJong, CEO of the Toronto Zoo, said in a press release.

"Masai giraffes are under increasing pressure due to habitat loss and illegal hunting," DeJong added. "It is important to educate the public on their plight in the wild and do everything we can to prevent the threats they face and halt declining populations."

Mstari’s pregnancy was announced on June 21, 2019 as part of the zoo's World Giraffe Day celebrations. At that time she was five months along in her roughly 15-month-long pregnancy.

Fewer than 35,000 Masai giraffes survive in the wild, having experienced more than a 50-percent decline in the past 30 years, according to the zoo. Illegal hunting and habitat loss are their primary threats.

The Toronto Zoo — which has had 19 giraffes born since 1980 (both Mstari and her mother Twiga were born there) said the new calf, aka Baby Long Legs, represents an "important genetic contribution to the North American population."

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