FORT WORTH - The Fort Worth Zoo has a new occupant.
On July 29, the mother giraffe Kala gave birth to her third calf, the 6-foot Tatu. Named after the Swahili word for the number three, zoo officials expect the 165-pound animal to expand to a height of 15 feet when it’s fully grown.
On Thursday, zoo spokeswoman Alexis Wilson said Tatu had joined the giraffe herd. The zoo allowed the mother and the newborn to spend some time alone with one another before Tatu was eased into the exhibit.
“What we do is allow time for the mother and the calf to acclimate to one another and to give them some privacy,” she said. “And … to make sure that the animal is healthy.”
At nearly 170 pounds, Wilson said Tatu was a smidge larger than the average calf and was “very healthy.”
“In fact, she’s out in the yard a little faster than we anticipated,” Wilson said. “When she went out, she did so well she didn’t want to come back in.”
In addition to the newcomer, the Zoo has another four female giraffes and one male. They’re all housed in the African Savannah exhibit, which features a creek that serves as a natural barrier and allows guests to get close to the giraffes.
The reticulated giraffes –– named for the unique chestnut-brown markings that cover their bodies –– share the shady space with ostriches and swans, Wilson said. But the giraffes "are the main attraction," she added.
The Fort Worth Zoo is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays through Fridays and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.