ESCONDIDO, Calif. – The San Diego Zoo Safari Park is welcoming its first new giraffe of 2022.
The calf, which has not yet been named, was born Monday to first-time mother Zindzi, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance said in a news release. Zoo officials say the calf is “walking and nursing normally.” They plan to conduct a closer examination of the animal soon.
In the release, officials said the calf’s birth has a special meaning because it shares the birthday of the late American actress Betty White. White, who died last month weeks shy of her 100th birthday, was lauded by the zoo for spending a lifetime “championing the cause of wildlife around the world.”
“She worked with many conservation organizations, including San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance, to shed light on the need to conserve wildlife,” the zoo’s statement reads.
Despite the giraffe not being named, several Twitter users suggested “Betty” would be a decent fit.
“Please name it Betty regardless of gender,” one person said in a tweet.
“What a beautiful gift Betty gave us on her birthday!” another person said. “Welcome to the world little one.”
According to the zoo, fewer than 100,000 giraffes remain in their native habitats, a drop of some 40% in the past two years.
“San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance has partnered with numerous conservation organizations on large-scale conservation projects, in an effort to slow and eventually stop the continued decline of giraffe populations,” the zoo said.