Newborn Giraffe's Name Revealed: Meet Willow

Willow is the first giraffe born at the Maryland Zoo in more than 20 years

The Maryland Zoo's baby giraffe has a name.

Willow was the clear winner, getting 32 percent of more than 26,000 votes, the zoo said.

Born Feb. 6, the female reticulated giraffe calf was the first to be born at the Baltimore zoo in more than 20 years. Born to 4-year-old Juma and 11-year-old Caesar, she arrived at a very healthy size of 6 feet, 1 inch tall and about 125 pounds.

Online voting for the giraffe's name ended Thursday at 8 a.m.

The zoo gave the public six name options, including Opal and Ruby. There was also Dottie, because the calf has a spot in the shape of a dot above each hoof; Safara, a name of African origin that means "fire;" and Imara, which means "strong" in Swahili.

Juma is a first-time mother. Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager, described Juma as an amazing mother and said her instincts are on target. "She is very attentive and has been very patient with the calf as she learns to nurse," Cantell said in a statement last week.

The mother and calf are bonding well and appear to be settling into their new life, Cantwell said.

Zoo guests won't be able to see Juma and her baby right away, because staff members want to observe the two together and see their interactions with the rest of the herd in a quiet setting.

The other giraffes are curious about the new baby, Cantwell said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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