SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Santa Barbara Zoo announced the pregnancy of two of their Masai Giraffes on Tuesday morning.
This is the first pregnancy for one of the giraffes named Adia, 5, who arrived in December 2017 from Cleveland Zoo as a potential mate for Michael, a male giraffe at the zoo. Adia is said to be due in April 2020.
Audrey, 11, is due in July 2020. This is not Audrey's first time as a mother, she has sired four other calves with Michael in the past. The most recent is Amirah, born in March 2018, a current member of the Zoo's giraffe herd.
This comes just three weeks after Masai giraffes were declared "endangered" by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.
Dr. Julie Barnes, the Zoo's vice president of animal health and care says the Masai giraffe numbers are declining in the wild and the population under human care in the U.S. is relatively small. When a giraffe is born at the Zoo, it helps keep their species genetically diverse and thriving.
Michael is claimed as the most genetically important male Masai giraffe in North America as he is the only one related to his offspring. He was brought to the Zoo from Canada in December 2011 and has since sired seven calves.
Five of those calves moved to other accredited zoos as part of a cooperative breeding program among accredited members of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.