COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is making preparations to welcome its 200th and 201st giraffe calf, and a camera has been set up to catch when it happens live.
Two of the zoo's 17 giraffes, Muziki and Laikipia, are pregnant and are due at the end of April or early May. But they can give birth earlier than expected, so the live cam is online now.
The camera is set up in the zoo's birthing stall and will be most active overnight between 4 p.m. and 9 a.m.
From the zoo:
At night, the camera will automatically shift into night-vision mode, and two dim red lights on the stall will help us view the giraffe moms at night. The red lights are enough for the giraffe to be visible with night vision, but not enough to disturb the natural daily cycles that they are used to. Although they are used to it being dark at night, they still only sleep about 20 to 60 minutes per night, just as they would in the wild. Giraffes can sleep standing up, so it is not usual for them to stay standing throughout the night, or to lay down for a portion of the night.
The first thing that viewers will see when the time comes is two front hooves emerging from mom. After that, they should see the head. The back hooves will usually be the last thing to emerge, and then the calf will drop to the ground, naturally severing the umbilical cord and stimulating baby's first breath. After that, mom will encourage the calf to stand up within about an hour after birth, which can sometimes look like she's nudging or kicking the baby.