Greenville Zoo officials have announced that Autumn, the zoo’s nine-year-old Masai giraffe, is pregnant. The zoo’s veterinary staff confirmed the pregnancy through hormone analysis, and after reviewing zoo keepers’ daily logs, have determined that Autumn could give birth as early as February. Like a majority of the animals at the Greenville Zoo, Autumn and Walter, the zoo’s 10-year-old male Masai giraffe, are part of a cooperative breeding program known as an SSP or Species Survival Program. The purpose of a cooperative breeding program is to monitor captive populations and make breeding recommendations based on genetic variability and spaces available at other accredited institutions to ensure a long term viable population without removing animals from the wild. Both Autumn and Walter came to the Greenville Zoo in 2007 as part of a breeding loan. Autumn came from the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston, and Walter came from the San Diego Zoo. Their first calf, Kiko, was born on October 22, 2012. Their second calf was stillborn on August 20, 2014. At the recommendation of the SSP, Kiko was transferred to the Toronto Zoo earlier this year to join two female giraffes with the hope that they will breed and produce offspring.
“With the births of our siamang, red panda and ocelot babies, this has been an extraordinary year for the Species Survival Programs that we participate in,” said zoo director Jeff Bullock. “And now with Autumn’s pregnancy, it’s an even more exciting time for the Greenville Zoo family.”