Mama Giraffe

First posted here 11 years ago today, February 23, 2004.

Kiley at the Albuquerque Zoo, February 22, 2004
Kiley at the Albuquerque zoo, February 22, 2004

NewMexiKen visited the Rio Grande Zoo Monday, a cool but not uncomfortable day (the rain and snow came in toward evening). With me were my daughter Emily and her daughter, my 16-month-old granddaughter, Kiley. The Zoo was quiet and nearly empty, seemingly as many caretakers as visitors.

We had already enjoyed the giraffes for a few minutes when a female came from the far side of the enclosure toward us. I commented to Emily that the giraffe was coming to see us.

Sure enough the giraffe came as close as she could, her head no more than five or six feet from our viewpoint. She seemed attracted to the baby, who was hungry about then and crying.

Kiley stopped crying when she saw the giraffe. We took some photos. The giraffe lost interest and wandered off.

Kiley also lost interest and resumed crying. Slowly, ambling as they do, but without hesitation, the giraffe, which by then had gone around a corner out of sight about 20 yards away, came back, if anything closer.

There was absolutely no doubt in our minds that the female giraffe was interested in the crying baby. I found myself talking to the giraffe, as one would to an intelligent house pet, reassuring her that the baby was fine. It was a conversation with considerable eye-to-eye contact.

The whole incident was extraordinary.