NORFOLK — The Virginia Zoo is “on cloud nine” following the Sept. 9 birth of “Tisa,” a female giraffe, who is the fifth addition to the zoo’s herd.
Tisa, a Masai giraffe, weighed approximately 120 pounds at birth and already stands 6 feet tall. She’s expected to grow to be 14 feet tall.
Dr. Tara Reilly, the zoo’s veterinarian, found Tisa is “healthy and full of personality,” and is strong and already learning to run, a zoo spokesperson said in a press release Monday.
Zookeepers named her Tisa, the Swahili word for nine, to symbolize her birthdate and that she is the ninth calf born to her mother, Imara.
Tisa brings the herd to five, which includes: one adult male, Billy; two adult females, Imara and Noelle; and Noelle’s calf, Mchanga, who was born in December.
Imara and Billy were bred based on recommendations from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan.
“Masai giraffes are currently listed as endangered due to habitat loss and poaching, so the birth of this newest calf is especially important,” zoo spokesperson JaLeesa Manley said.
To celebrate the birth of Tisa, the zoo is hosting a digital “Zoodoption” special, where patrons can be entered to win a behind-the-scenes giraffe tour and a meet and greet with Tisa.
Caitlyn Burchett, 727-267-6059, email@example.com