Two of the zoo’s giraffes, Joanie and Sterling, are the proud parents a female calf, born just a month ago, on Sunday, Dec. 13. When born, giraffe calves are an average of 6 feet tall. A calf can stand within five minutes of birth, and in 20 minutes can run nearly as fast as its mother.
The calf is the second for Joanie and Sterling.
Mother Joanie was born on October 30, 2006 and came to Cape May County from the Bronx Zoo in 2011. Sterling, the only male giraffe at the zoo, has fathered two female calves. Sterling was born on September 5, 1996 and came from Busch Gardens in Florida.
The new calf is a recommended birth under the Species Survival Plan. The calf’s sister, Faye, was born in 2013 and was recently transferred to The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo as part of an SSP recommended transfer for breeding.
Due to the cold weather, the new calf will not be going out into her habitat during the winter. However, she will be out and about for public viewing in the spring. The calf remains unnamed at this time.
In other zoo news, Marty an eight month old male dromedary camel calf arrived at the zoo on Monday Jan. 4. Marty came from the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, NY. His acquisition was fully funded and supported by the Cape May County Zoological Society.
Dromedary camels live in deserts and scrublands from Northern Africa to western India. They are herbivores and eat vegetation - mostly bushes and shrubs which makes up 70 percent of their diet. The camels are capable of drinking 30 gallons of water in 10 minutes and require six to eight times more salt than other animals to aid in water absorption. A dromedary camel’s hump is actually a fat reserve and not water.
Marty, who zoo officials describe as a little “sweetie,” is currently living with the zoo's herd of llama and alpaca; once Marty grows up he will join the resident female dromedary camel, Carly. Marty can be viewed everyday at the zoo from 10 am until 3:45 pm.
Freeholder E. Marie Hayes, who oversees the Parks and Zoo, encourages residents to come to the zoo during the winter months to see Marty and all the animals who call the Cape May County Zoo their home.
“The Cape May County Park and Zoo is an exciting place to visit throughout the year,” Hayes said. “The park is a great place for hiking, running and walks. Many of the zoo animals are active during the colder months and are out and about.”
The Cape May County Zoo is an AZA accredited zoo and participates in the Species Survival Plan. The mission of an AZA Species Survival Plan Program is to manage specific, and typically threatened or endangered, species population within AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, certified related facilities, and sustainability partners.