November 13, 2012

News Release

For Immediate Release

Vote for Baby Giraffe's Name

baby giraffe sitting in stall

On Sunday morning, zookeepers at Dickerson Park Zoo found a giraffe calf born over night to 20-year-old Gidget. During the neonatal examination, the zoo's veterinarian noted the calf weighed 159 pounds.

Zookeepers have prepared for the imminent birth of two calves by hauling in dirt to the barn stalls in the event of an overnight birth. Another giraffe, Emma, is expected to give birth to her first calf any day.

Dickerson Park Zoo is asking for the public's help in naming the calf. Zookeepers selected three names that reflect the calf's petite size: Twiggy (a play on twiga, the Swahili word for giraffe), Rue (a young girl in the popular book "The Hunger Games") and Caley (a Gaelic word for slender). The public can participate by voting on the zoo's Facebook page ( or by emailing their choice of the three names to (one vote per email address).

Gidget has been at Dickerson Park Zoo since September 1993. This female calf is Gidget's 11th. This is the second calf sired by Peperuka, the zoo's breeding male. Peperuka came to Dickerson Park Zoo in June 2011. A giraffe's gestation is between 14 and 15 months.

Due to the recent change in weather, the giraffes may be kept in the barn where guests can view the herd: Gidget and her calf, Cheka and her calf Pammy J (born in September 2012), and giraffes Kamilli, Emma and Peperuka. Kamilli is also pregnant and due this winter.

Dickerson Park Zoo is open daily 10 a.m.-4 p.m., weather permitting. The zoo will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. For more information, visit the zoo online at, or call the zoo's information hotline, 417-864-1800.

For more information, contact: Melinda Arnold, Public Relations Director, 417-833-1570 (office) or 417-848-0162 (cell),

Larger photo available upon request.

Dickerson Park Zoo
3043 North Fort • Springfield, MO 65803
(417) 833-1570 Phone • (417) 833-4459 Fax
Dickerson Park Zoo is a division of the Springfield-Greene County Park Board