Giraffe FAQ

When was the giraffe calf born? 

The calf was born February 2 at 6:16 a.m.

How will the giraffe’s name be selected? 


The Greenville Zoo and Greenville Zoo Foundation are soliciting both male and female names through Thursday, February 11 at noon.  Names can either be mailed to the zoo at 150 Cleveland Park Drive, Greenville SC 29601 or submitted online.

When will the calf be on exhibit? 

Since the zoo is currently closed for maintenance, Autumn and the calf will be on exhibit daily beginning February 13, weather permitting. Until the calf is a little older, zoo staff will follow a strict protocol based on temperature, sunshine, wind, precipitation, etc., when deciding when to put it on exhibit. When Autumn and her calf are off exhibit, Walter will be on exhibit.

Why is Walter separated from Autumn and the calf? 


Walter will be kept separate during the first month to allow time for Autumn and the calf to bond and for the calf to grow. This will also allow time for Autumn to go through a postpartum estrous before mating again. 

How often should the calf be nursing? 


The number of times the calf nurses will vary from four to seven times a day, depending on how much Autumn thinks it needs. Much like cows, female giraffes have sacks for their young to drink from, and a giraffe calf will feed on its mother’s milk for four to six months. As the calf grows and its stomach expands, it could consume a gallon of milk per feeding. Giraffes nurse quickly and take in a large amount of milk in a short time, most likely as a survival instinct. 

How much sleep do giraffes need?

In spite of their long days exercising and eating, giraffes don't require much sleep. Typically, they only get between 30 minutes and two hours of sleep every 24 hours through the short naps they take throughout the day. Most of the time, those naps are taken while standing up unless there is another giraffe around to stand guard over the herd and watch for predators.

How long will the giraffe cam be available?

The GiraffeCam will continue to be available to allow the public to monitor the progress of Autumn and her calf.

How does the giraffe cam work? 


The camera in the barn can only be moved by two zoo staff members, who work diligently to respond to the needs of an excited audience, while keeping up with two active giraffes. The outside camera is permanently fixed and can only be moved manually by someone on top of the giraffe barn.

How long have Walter and Autumn been at the Greenville Zoo?  

Both Walter and Autumn came to the Greenville Zoo in July 2007 as part of a breeding loan agreement. Autumn came from the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, where she was born on January 7, 2006. Walter came from the San Diego Zoo, where he was born on November 9, 2005. 

How does the loan agreement work?  

Loans between zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) are common and mission-based. The goal is for science-based organizations to work collaboratively to create and sustain captive populations that can be maintained for 100 years while maintaining a genetic variability of at least 96% within the population. The AZA Species Survival Plan® (SSP) Program is made up of volunteers from zoos and aquariums across the country who work together to determine what pairings are best for the captive population. 

Who owns this calf?

Ownership of animals within AZA-accredited facilities has become a moot point in modern zoos and aquariums. Animals within the captive populations are managed as a collective group to ensure genetically viability today and into the future. When a recommendation is made that a zoo move one of its animals to another facility, the loan agreement merely maintains that institution’s ownership on paper. Regardless of who owns what animal on paper, its placement is based on where it can do the most good for the captive population.

How long will the calf stay at the Greenville Zoo?

While there is currently no timetable, it is typically recommended that giraffe calves be moved to another facility before their first birthday. In addition to it being safer to transport younger giraffes, it is also important to relocate them before they become sexually mature to prevent inbreeding, and in the case of males, to prevent aggression toward a younger animal that is seen as a breeding threat. Kiko was able to remain at the Greenville Zoo as long as he did because of the large number of males born into the giraffe population the year prior to his birth, and the length of time it took the SSP to place them. The Masai Giraffe SSP Steering Committee will determine where the calf will be moved, and once the committee makes its recommendation, the Greenville Zoo will work with the receiving institution on details such as timing.

How soon could another calf be born?

Calves have been born as close as 18 months apart.  

How can the public show its support? 
Below are ways to show support for the giraffe family and the Greenville Zoo: 

  • Adopt an animal through the Greenville Zoo’s Adopt-an-Animal program
  • Become a Greenville Zoo member - $3 of your membership fee goes directly to conservation projects locally and around the world
  • Visit the Greenville Zoo - 25 cents of your admission price goes directly to conservation projects locally and around the world
  • Sponsor an event – the Greenville Zoo and the Greenville Zoo Foundation have events throughout the year that allocate part of the proceeds to various conservation programs and projects
  • Make a donation to the Greenville Zoo or Greenville Zoo Foundation toward implementation of the zoo master plan, which will exemplify the zoo’s conservation mission
  • Contact conservation organizations such as The Giraffe Conservation Foundation for more information about the animals, their threats and how you can help

Where can the public get more information?
More information is available on the Greenville Zoo’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/greenvillezoo/