Little giraffe has big growth spurt - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Little giraffe has big growth spurt

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SAN DIEGO - A giraffe delivered at the San Diego Zoo two months ago was the smallest to be born there in the last 15 years, but has grown rapidly, animal care staff said Tuesday.

Obi stood 5 feet, 3 inches tall and weighed 117 pounds at birth. Giraffes generally are over 6 feet tall at birth, according to the zoo.

Obi -- whose name means "heart" in Nigeria -- now weighs over 270 pounds and is almost 7 feet tall, showing a normal growth rate for a giraffe. Animal care staff said they are happy with his growth spurt.

"We were really excited when he was born,'' said Katie Tomlinson, senior keeper at the zoo.

"Of course, they're always cute, but him being smaller just makes him extra cute," Tomlinson said. "And we just enjoyed watching him grow up, watching his personality come out. He has a great personality -- really sweet, really curious -- so, it's been a lot of fun."

Zoo guests can visit Obi and his herd in the zoo's Urban Jungle exhibit.

Two giraffe subspecies -- the West African or Nigerian giraffe, and the Rothschild's giraffe -- are considered to be endangered. In many African countries, giraffe populations are decreasing because of poaching, habitat loss and overgrazing of resources by livestock, according to the zoo.

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