By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – Add one more to the number of unbelievably long necks in Tupelo.
On Monday, Patches gave birth to a bouncing baby giraffe at the Tupelo Buffalo Park and Zoo.
“At about 11 in the morning, we noticed hooves were sticking out,” said Redah Cleveland, who works at the park’s gift shop. “It was a boy who noticed it and told us.”
Patches was released from her pen to find a quiet place in the pasture. Park employees checked on her at 1 p.m. and there’d been no change. At 4 p.m., the new baby was getting a tongue bath from its mother.
“We don’t know yet if it’s a boy or a girl,” said Roberto Barcon, who works at the park. “It’s too soon.”
The father of the new calf, Tall Boy, has checked out the newborn, but he’s generally kept his distance.
Cleveland said the mother and father were seen “necking.” In this case, necking is exactly what you’d expect a giraffe to do.
“Then he said, ‘I’m getting out of here,’” Cleveland said.
The calf is already up and moving, and it followed Patches to the barn area when she fed.
“Patches has been a bit skittish since she got pregnant,” Cleveland said, “but she’ll get back to her old self.”
This is Patches’ fifth calf. One died, and its siblings were sent to other facilities. There are currently no plans to send the baby elsewhere.
Patches has had two girls and two boys. This one will break the tie. When the park finds out the sex, you’ll be welcome to take part in a naming contest.