‘Hope’ the giraffe born in New Orleans amid pandemic

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Audubon Nature Institute in New Orleans welcomed a new resident, a baby giraffe named Hope. Sue Ellen, a middle-aged giraffe at the Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center, gave birth last Monday, according to a news release.

Audubon Nature Institute President and CEO Ron Forman said Hope was the perfect name for the calf, especially as New Orleans has been hit hard during the coronavirus pandemic.

“What name could be more fitting than ’Hope’ in these challenging times?” Forman said. “Hope is what has sustained our community through seemingly insurmountable crises in the past and what we must hold onto as we continue on in the coming days and weeks. May we all take comfort in the reminder that, even in the darkest of days, life continues, undaunted.”

Species Survival Center curator Michelle Hatwood said the staff had known the calf was on the way for 15 months but said it can be tough to pinpoint a likely delivery date for giraffes. The calf was born 1.8-metres tall, weighing in at 86 kilogrammes. Located on 1,200 acres of land west of downtown New Orleans, the centre is now home to 13 giraffes, the release said.

The new calf was the eighth giraffe born at the centre as part of the Alliance for Sustainable Wildlife conservation breeding partnership with San Diego Zoo Global.

Hope, a baby giraffe and her mother Sue Ellen at Freeport-McMoRan Audubon Species Survival Center in New Orleans. PHOTO: AP