SINGAPORE - A new addition to the giraffe enclosure at the Singapore Zoo is expected in late January next year, the Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) announced in a statement on Wednesday (Oct 31).
Lucy, the zoo's resident female giraffe, was confirmed to be pregnant with her first calf in April this year.
The 14-year-old giraffe has since been cooperating well with all medical and husbandry procedures which would help increase the chances of a successful delivery, said the WRS.
Lucy and her calf will be sharing the enclosure with two male giraffes.
One of them is Marco, Lucy's 14-year-old mate who was previously known as Growie; and the other is Jubilee, who was born in 2015 to Marco and Roni, who died in April 2017.
Giraffes are skittish by nature, and it is often difficult to conduct physical checks on them, the WRS added.
"With this knowledge, Lucy's keepers started conditioning her in 2016 in anticipation of an eventual pregnancy, and spent many mornings patiently preparing her to be comfortable with ultrasound procedures," the statement said. They even used a shower head as a dummy ultrasound probe.
It took nearly three months before Lucy allowed the keepers to touch her tummy, but she is now comfortable with the vets' physical examinations and medical procedures, the WRS said.
Her food intake and weight is monitored daily, and the mother-to-be is pampered with a daily dose of green leafy vegetables.
The animal care team, consisting of keepers and vets, is able to conduct regular ultrasound scans and monitor the baby's development. So far, the team has spotted the baby giraffe's heartbeat, ribcage and hooves.
Visitors can meet Lucy, Marco and Jubilee during their daily interactive feeding sessions at 10.45am, 1.50pm and 3.45pm.