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Meet Maggie, Your New Neighbor at Oakland Zoo

This long-legged, six-foot-tall baby made her debut Thursday.

Maggie the baby giraffe had her official coming-out party Thursday, Feb. 2, at the Oakland Zoo, delighting visitors during the four-hour period she was on display.

Zoo officials said earlier that Maggie would most likely appear starting at 10:30 am and remaining out until noon or later, provided she didn't tire. In fact, she remained on view until about 2:30 p.m.

"She was lying down at the end," said Nicky Mora, the zoo's marketing manager.

If you missed today's debut, Maggie will be on display daily from 10 a.m. until about 2 or 3 p.m., depending on her stamina. The zoo has assigned a volunteer to monitor Maggie's well-being during public viewing hours.

Maggie was born around 6:30 a.m. on Jan. 12 to parents Twiga and Mabusu.

Twiga means giraffe in Swahili. Mabusu means kisses.

At birth Maggie weighed 80 pounds and stood 72 inches tall.

Mora said giraffes give birth standing up. This allows the offspring to drop four to five feet, which encourages it to start breathing -- nature's equivalent of the whack on the rump sometimes administered to human infants for the same reason.

Maggie actually made sneak appearances on Monday and Tuesday so zookeepers could make sure she wouldn't be spooked by the attention, Mora said.

She made her official debut just a few days before the Zoo hosts a conference for the International Association of Giraffe Care Professionals, which takes place from Feb. 6 to Feb. 9.

The Zoo has also teamed up with the Reticulated Giraffe Research Project, based at the Samburu National Reserve in Kenya, where researchers study conservation issues facing the species.

The Oakland Zoo is at 9777 Golf Links Rd., Oakland off Highway 580, and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission ranges from $9.75 from ages 2-14 to $13.75 for adults, with discounts for seniors and for members of the military and their families. children under 2 are free. There's also a parking fee of $7 per car.

For more information, call 510-632-9525 or visit the Oakland Zoo website.

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