animal spotlight
Masai Giraffes
Welcome, Twiga
We have been in baby mode here at the Zoo, as five-year-old Adia gave birth to Twiga (pronounced TWEE-gah), a male calf born on March 27. Twiga entered the world at 6 feet tall and 125.5 pounds and is fitting in with the Zoo’s herd very nicely. Twiga is Adia’s first baby and she is taking on the role of mama like a pro.

Audrey, our 12-year-old female giraffe, is pregnant and due later this summer with her fifth offspring. Giraffes have a gestation of approximately 14 months, and baby watch officially began in mid-March for these two females.

Michael, the sire to both calves, is one of the most genetically valuable Masai giraffes in North America. Thanks to their diverse genes, every one of his offspring plays an important role in the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan. Like Buttercup, Parker, and all of the other giraffes born at the Santa Barbara Zoo, Twiga and Audrey’s new calf will eventually move on to start families of their own at other AZA-accredited zoos.

As of July 2019, Masai giraffes were officially listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature due to poaching and habitat loss. In the last three decades alone, populations have declined by almost 50% in the wild. So while these giraffe babies are undoubtedly adorable additions to the Zoo family, they serve an even greater purpose: to keep their species alive and thriving.

While we are closed, you won’t be able to see the calves in person, but we’ll make sure to keep bringing you photos and videos of these incredible baby animals to brighten your day. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter to get your giraffe baby fix!

You can support the growing giraffe herd by becoming a Foster Feeder sponsor of the Zoo’s Masai giraffes. A donation of $50+ helps with the cost of feeding the growing giraffe family, and you’re also helping to make a world of difference for your Zoo and your planet.
New giraffe Foster Feeders receive:

  • Digital certificate with a baby photo of Twiga
  • Masai giraffe fact sheet
  • Recognition on the Zoo’s Foster Feeder board