Behind-the-scenes at the Memphis Zoo with Ali the baby giraffe

Behind-the-scenes at the Memphis Zoo with Ali the baby giraffe

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It’s been a busy few weeks of life for one of the Memphis Zoo’s newest additions.

Ali the reticulated giraffe isn’t even a full month old but she’s already visited a few different states and undergone major surgery. Now she’s living her best giraffe life with some extra special care at the Memphis Zoo.

By all accounts, Ali seems like a normal baby. She’s curious and loves a bottle.

But in reality she’s had a tough go of it since her April 9 birth, and she’s being watched closely by zoo staff.

“She’s still very much in what we would call the red zone,” said Courtney Janney, zoo curator of large mammals. “She’s a critical care patient.”

But when Ali was born everything seemed normal. Her mom, Angela Kate, took to her calf immediately and started nursing. But at 24 hours later something changed.

“What was really interesting and something very different than anything we’ve ever seen was mom just disengaged from Ali over the next few days,” said Janney.

But that wasn’t the only first for Ali. Just a couple days after being born, she began to limp.

Memphis Zoo giraffe Angela Kate gives birth to baby calf (Source: Memphis Zoo)

“She was diagnosed with a fracture above what essentially we would call her ankle,” said Janney.

Within days she was in surgery at a specialist’s office in Kentucky.

“I’ve never been a part of anything like this,” said Janney. " Ali has really set all the records as far as my career is concerned."

It wasn’t until after Ali’s surgery that she took her first bottle, a sigh of relief for the entire zoo.

Janney says Ali will join the rest of the herd when the time is right. But for now, she is resting and eating like a baby.

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