DES MOINES, Iowa - Blank Park Zoo just welcomed a baby black rhinoceros to its family, and within a month, it expects to add another newborn.
19-year-old Uzuri, one of its four giraffes, is pregnant. Zookeepers call it a surprise because of her age, and because she's been on birth control for about a decade. But because giraffe conceal pregnancy really well, the 13- to 15-month pregnancy flew under the radar - until now.
"There really is a conservation story about giraffe, in that most people think they're common in the wild - they're iconic for Africa," said Kevin Drees with the zoo. "But the fact is, their numbers have decreased a lot, and there are probably 100,000 or less giraffe in all of Africa. And so, it really is a species that is vulnerable, and they're currently trying to assess its state in the wild."
Drees says it's great timing - a new indoor giraffe barn is set to open next spring, and the zoo planned to add six additional giraffe anyway.