Adorable Photos Show Baby Giraffe Born at California Zoo

A California zoo has announced the birth of a new giraffe and shared heart-warming pictures of the calf.

The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens in Palm Desert, California, announced the news on Monday in an Instagram post liked over 2,000 times on the social media site.

The calf, which has not yet been named, was born to first-time parents Shellie and Kelly, the zoo said.

"What an exciting morning," said RoxAnna Breitigan, director of animal care, on Instagram. "Many of our guests had a front row seat along the guest pathway, and we are happy that so many were able to witness such an incredible sight today."

The newborn's gender and name were not announced by the zoo who said they await confirmation after a medical exam scheduled for Tuesday.

Giraffes are considered a vulnerable species by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Two subspecies of the animals—Kordofan and Nubian giraffes—are listed as Critically Endangered. Around half of baby giraffes born in the wild survive to maturity.

Giraffes are the tallest animals in the world—adults can measure over 18 feet in height. The evolution of their long necks has resulted in a complex circulatory system that scientists are still trying to fully understand.

Pregnant giraffes gestate for over a year—around 450 days in total. At birth, giraffe calves weigh over 200 pounds and can walk within minutes of being born.

Information available on the Living Desert Zoo and Gardens website said they supported conservation efforts to protect the animals in Tanzania. Giraffes are found in the savannahs of sub-Saharan Africa and face a variety of threats in the wild. The IUCN lists habitat loss, civil unrest, ecological changes and illegal hunting among the primary threats faced by the species.

Habitat loss is of particular concern for giraffe conservation efforts due to the destruction of the acacia trees which the animals rely on for much of their food. Giraffes have lost almost 40 percent of their population in the last 30 years according to the African Wildlife Foundation.

The zoo's announcement of the new giraffe calf follows the birth of a baby Masai giraffe at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park in the south of California in January.

Unlike the recent arrival, however, that calf was born with serious medical conditions and could not stand in the days after its birth. Authorities at the zoo eventually decided to humanely euthanize the animal on January 20 after revealing that its condition had deteriorated.

"Unfortunately, despite all efforts, his condition continued to worsen, and the team made the compassionate decision to euthanize the calf. Zindzhi and the other members of the giraffe herd are being monitored closely for any unusual behavior after the calf's passing," the zoo said.

Stock image of a baby giraffe
Stock image of a baby giraffe. The zoo said the animal had already formed a close bond with its mother. Janugio/Getty Images