Amid around-the-clock care, Maryland Zoo's baby giraffe gets a name fit for an emperor

A giraffe calf born in poor health earlier this month at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has been given a name fit for an emperor: "Julius."

"The name means 'youthful, downy-bearded,' both of which he is," said mammal collection and conservation manager Erin Cantwell in a statement Friday. "But for us, the name Julius is a strong name representing his bloodline with his father Caesar.


"We are certainly hoping this name gives him added strength as we continue to provide around-the-clock specialized care for him."

Julius, born at the zoo June 15, received a plasma transfusion from a giraffe at the Columbus Zoo last weekend because he was having trouble nursing and was not receiving antibodies from his mother, according to the zoo's veterinarian Samantha Sander.


On Friday, Cantwell said the calf had gained two pounds and "showed some promising progress taking more milk from the bottle," but that "general weakness and changes in his blood work caused concern for the team, which has lead to more intensive care."

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Cantwell said the calf "has responded well to treatment for now, but we are still not out of the woods yet."

Zoo officials said little Julius — who is actually not that little at 152 pounds — drank 550 milliliters of milk Friday morning, which was a sign of gradual improvement.

They said Julius will "remain behind the scenes with his mother Kesi for the foreseeable future."

Other giraffes, including 5-month-old Willow, can be seen daily, weather permitting.

This story has been updated to correct the kind of transfusion the giraffe received.