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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A time of celebration paired with mourning as the circle of life plays out at Zoo Miami.

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Zoo Miami’s baby giraffe, named “Princess Buttercup” born April 8th, made her first appearance on exhibit with rest of the herd.

The baby’s mother is a 4 ½ year old named Sabra. The baby is Sabra’s first baby, and the zoo’s 47th.


Sabra arrived at Zoo Miami from the Blank Park Zoo in Des Moines, Iowa in November of 2013.  The father’s name was “Fezzik,” born at the St. Louis Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in May of 1998 but died in November of last year due to age related crippling arthritis.

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The newborn weighed 108 pounds, stood a little over 5 feet tall and was determined to be a female during its neonatal exam.

Giraffe have a pregnancy of approximately 15 months and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth.  The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor.

Zoo Miami also announced a loss for the zoo, the long awaited birth of an Okapi, a rare relative of the giraffe from the forests of Central Africa, resulted in the survival of the calf lasting only a few hours.

Zoo Miami said the loss was devastating as it would have been the first successful birth of the rare animal in the zoo’s history. The Okapi was born alive on April 10th, but the newborn was severely underweight and very weak.  It had great difficulty trying to stand normally and sadly died only a few hours after birth.

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Initial results from a necropsy did not show any obvious cause of death other than a very low birth weight and what may be some anomalies of the heart.  Further tests are pending.