SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)— Twin male giraffe calves were born at the San Francisco Zoo Tuesday, but according to zoo officials only one survived.
At approximately 8:30 a.m. the animals were welcomed into the world. The stronger calf weighed in at approximately 100 pounds and stood at 5’6” tall. He was said to be immediately healthy, alert and nursing according to zoo staff.
The calf who succumbed was much smaller and weak at birth and was unable to nurse or function independently on his own. Despite the staff’s efforts and expert consultation, complications made his condition untreatable and he passed away Thursday afternoon.
The twin birth is extremely rare for this species— the reticulated giraffe, and is only the 10th recorded live birth of both twins in zoos worldwide.
Bititi, the 11-year-old calf’s mother was born at the Oakland Zoo and was transported to live in San Francisco in 2005.
During her pregnancy, she had awake ultrasounds conducted, which enabled animal staff to monitor the health of the mother and confirm the pregnancy. This was Bititi’s fourth pregnancy. The calves’ father, Floyd, is 12-years-old and was born in Albuquerque at the Rio Grande Zoo.
“This is a bitter-sweet announcement to make, but this very unique twin birth is something for all of the Bay Area to take pride in,” said San Francisco Zoo President Tanya Peterson. “We hope everyone will come share their best wishes with Bititi and give a warm welcome to our newest resident.”