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Gladys Porter Zoo welcomes baby giraffe

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The Gladys Porter Zoo in Brownsville welcomed a new addition to their family.

Zoo officials say Rocket, one of their giraffes, became a mother for the first time on February 23. Officials say the male calf was born on exhibit, but was placed behind the scenes in a private barn to bond with his mother.

The baby giraffe is ready to win the hearts of visitors and can now be seen on exhibit with the rest of the herd.

"First-time mothers are often nervous and unsure how to raise an infant," Walter Dupree, curator of mammals at Gladys Porter Zoo, said in a news release. "This can be a serious concern for any newborn, and we are monitoring any behavior from Rocket that may cause an issue for her calf. Fortunately, Rocket has been a very diligent mom, bonding with her infant immediately. It's heartwarming to see one of our 'babies' become a mom, and a very good mom at that."

Official say reticulated giraffes, also known as the Somali giraffe, are listed as an endangered species. Their biggest threats in the wild include habitat loss and poaching.

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, approximately 15,950 reticulated giraffes exist in the wild, and their numbers continue to decrease.

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