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New Zoo Baby Makes Unexpected Arrival

For Immediate Release: December 11, 2012

6-Week-Old Giraffe Calf Now on Exhibit

[Columbia, SC] — Riverbanks Zoo and Garden is excited to officially announce a new, surprise addition to the family—a male giraffe calf that was born at the Zoo in late October.

The now 6-week-old calf, named Winston by his keepers, marks the seventh giraffe birth at Riverbanks since February 2009. Winston’s arrival also grows the Zoo’s giraffe herd to nine members, which is now made up of four females and five males.

"Because all of our females are on birth control, we really didn’t expect that Sharon was pregnant,” said John Davis, curator of mammals at Riverbanks Zoo and Garden. "Winston’s arrival was quite a shock, but we are very happy to have him as part of our herd.”

Winston weighed nearly 100 pounds at birth; and although small now, once full grown he could reach up to 18 feet tall (record is 20 feet) and weigh as much as 2,600 pounds.

"We waited to release news of Winston’s birth after noticing very early on a decrease in his body weight,” said Davis. "To make sure he was receiving adequate nutrition, we made the decision to hand-rear the calf and are very pleased with his progress and weight gain over the last few weeks.”

Winston is the third offspring to parents Sharon and Charlie. Lewis, the pair’s oldest, now resides at Busch Gardens Tampa—an AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) facility. Isabella, their second, still remains at Riverbanks.

Visitors can see Winston as well as Riverbanks’ entire giraffe herd daily in the Zoo’s African Savanna exhibit.