FORT WORTH - The Fort Worth Zoo is trying a refreshingly old approach to its newest baby animal: surprise.
A yet-to-be-named baby giraffe was born one week ago. Coming in at 185 pounds and 6 feet tall, the giraffe is already showing a lot of strength, said Ron Surratt, the facility's director of animal collections.
"Within 45 minutes, he was on his feet," he said.
But the announcement came as a surprise to many on Thursday.
There was no build up with a 24/7 live stream, or baby camera, which has become a popular fad for a lot of zoos nationwide to attract attention.
Surratt said that was intentional.
"We have had a lot of giraffe births," he said. "To quote Simon and Garfunkel, 'Someone tells me it's all happening at the zoo.' We have that stuff going on all the time. We just didn't do it."
It stands in stark contrast to the approach adopted by a New York zoo earlier this year, when "April" was filmed around the clock leading up to her giving birth.
Even the Dallas Zoo has embraced giraffe cams, although coverage of one birth two years ago took a decidedly tragic turn when Kipenzi the giraffe died shortly after being born.
PETA, the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, says the spread of digital coverage live streaming an expecting mother's every move has become more prevalent in recent years.
The organization isn't necessarily a fan.
"Animals aren't ours to use for entertainment," Brittany Peet told WFAA on Thursday via SKYPE.
She said a lot of animal advocates grow especially concerned about "roadside" zoos trying to bring in extra money. Those establishments are typically smaller, more rural, and subject to far less oversight and public scrutiny than major operations in major cities, according to Peet.
Surratt said a lot of what happens in major city zoos bottoms down to different approaches and opinions on how to attract visitors, especially given that young animal don't always make it.
"There are different approaches," he said. "You've got to be prepared for that with how you build it up."
The baby giraffe in Fort Worth will be named this summer, after staff has had a chance to evaluate its personality.
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