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UPDATE: Exactly one month after welcoming their new baby girl into the world, the staff at Oregon's Wildlife Safari have finally given her a name.
"Sally is the name that has been chosen for our little bundle of joy—the over six-foot-tall giraffe calf born to proud hooved parents Mate and Erin," said Dan Van Slyke, the park's executive director.
According to a statement from the park, Sally's name came from Toby and Christy Luther, the calf's new 'symbolic parents.' The Luthers provided Wildlife Safari with a 'sizable contribution' to sponsor the young giraffe. The name 'Sally' is one of significance to the Luthers.
“Christy has always loved giraffes,” says Toby, “And sponsoring the new calf’s care seemed like a special way to help the giraffes—and Wildlife Safari—in a unique way.”
Toby Luther has been the Chief Executive Officer of Lone Rock Resources in Roseburg since 2008. While heading the timber company, he has also served on the Wildlife Safari board of directors.
“What people may not understand is that everything that we do at Wildlife Safari is completely privately supported,” said Van Slyke. “The park doesn’t receive any kind of tax-base funding at all, we rely solely on our gate and what we fundraise, so having people like Toby step up to support the programs like the giraffes is a must.”
“As giraffe numbers continue to fall in the wild, each new birth is vital to the survival of their species” said Dan Brands, the park’s curator who is in charge of the entire Wildlife Safari animal collection. “We work closely with the Species Survival Plan to make the best breeding matches for all of our animals and this new baby will be an ambassador for not only Wildlife Safari but her species around the world."
Sally and the whole giraffe herd are available for viewing and meeting everyday as part of the parks enrichment encounters.
(Updated as of 4:43 p.m. on Wednesday, April 4)
WINSTON, Ore. — She was walking before she was even given a name. In fact, the public won’t learn anything about the newborn giraffe’s name until March 16—spring break, by Wildlife Safari’s calendar.
Wildlife Safari in Winston welcomed their new giraffe calf into the world on the morning of Sunday, March 4. Her parents are Erin and Mate, two adult giraffe residents of the park. The calf is the second one born to the park’s new breeding program.
“Erin has taken to being a mother like it’s nature,” said Tanda Schmidt, on the Wildlife Safari’s ungulate keepers. “She’s not a nervous mom, but very patient and attentive while watching her calf explore.”
The park’s giraffe family watched with interest as Erin gave birth to the new calf, according to a statement. Other than that, the other giraffes have only had passing interactions with the baby girl.
“We’ve seen a lot of ‘nose booping’ between the calf and the other giraffe, so these positive explorations are promising,” said Schmidt. The park’s staff hopes that this means family bonds are forming already.
The new calf weighs 147 lbs, and stands at 5’10”. She was standing—and walking—less than two hours after her birth.
“We always want our animal births to feel like they belong to, and sort of represent, the community,” said Dan Van Slyke, Safari’s executive director. “The baby girl is going to be a huge asset and ambassador to the community and to tourism in the area, by attracting that many more out of town guests.”