PHOTOS, VIDEO: Giraffe Calf Born This Past January at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Named Jabari, Joins Herd on Kilimanjaro Safaris Today

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Back in January, a giraffe went into labor pretty much right beside the Kilimanjaro Safaris path.

Ever since his birth on the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom on Jan. 14, this male Masai giraffe calf has been bold, curious and courageous. You could say he was born feet-first, and ready to take on the world…

Well, to celebrate his spirit, he has been given a very special name – Jabari, which means “brave one” in Swahili. Disney’s animal care team typically is given the honor of naming baby animals but this time the naming choice went to our safari drivers because they played such an important role in keeping Guests calm during the Jabari’s birth. Several of the drivers were on hand this morning to see Jabari in stride, which left them smiling and beaming with pride.

Now standing at seven feet tall, Jabari has spent the past few months bonding with his mom Mara in a backstage habitat. Jabari has quickly reached all his key developmental milestones, so today he is returning to Kilimanjaro Safari savanna to officially join the rest of the giraffe herd. Disney has given us a look at Jabari’s big debut:

Jabari’s parents, Mara and George, were chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species, thereby ensuring healthy, future generations. Jabari is following in the hoofsteps of his sisters Amira and Aella, two young female giraffe calves who were born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom last year.

The Masai giraffe, found primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, is one of nine types of giraffe and is a vulnerable species. There are believed to be roughly 32,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild, and their population continues to decline due in part to poaching and habitat loss.

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Jessica Figueroa

Jessica lives in South Florida with her 15-pound cat Gordo and a small army of Tsum Tsums. You can contact her, ideally with photos of your cats, at [email protected]