By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Tupelo Buffalo Park & Zoo received a new addition to the family Friday morning with the birth of a currently unnamed giraffe.
Lindsay Bullock, who works closely with the giraffes, said he’s going to be a big one.
“His mother Patches is 18 feet tall and his father is almost 24 feet tall,” she said. “He has to duck to get into the barn.”
Bullock said Patches went into labor about 6 a.m., and in the next hour, her six-foot newborn was walking healthily – a little wobbly – around the barn.
“When I got here he was just standing up. Giraffes learn to run fast because in the wild they never know what might be hunting,” she said.
The new giraffe is the fourth to be born at the Buffalo Park, the seventh of Patches’. Bullock said the giraffes subsist mainly on alfalfa hay and water, but also enjoy treats like apples and carrots. Within six months, the newborn is expected to double in size.
“They take care of themselves pretty well,” Bullock said. “We knew Patches was expecting because she was getting big, so we made sure the floor of the barn was padded with hay. We’ll watch them for worms, but other than that, the mom handles it.”
In addition to Patches and the newborn, the Buffalo Park is home to giraffes Grace and Tall Boy, the newborn’s sister and father, respectively. Bullock said she expects they will sell the newborn to a zoo or another wildlife park.
“He’s the only male besides Tall Boy, and they can get to be very territorial,” Bullock said.
The park will have a contest to choose the name of the newborn.
Suggestions may be submitted by way of the Buffalo Park’s Facebook page or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.