High anxiety -- webcam watches gestatin' giraffe

Michael S. Mimoso, Editorial Director

Here's the long and short of this story.

A pregnant giraffe will have a calf in Frankfurt, Germany, at any second and, naturally, somebody with a webcam is ready to capture every moment.

This might not generate the same type of cyberbuzz that a live human birth broadcast on the Web did a few years ago but, nonetheless, it's got giraffe gurus on edge.

Chira, a 6-year-old beast, is due in the next few days. After a 450-day gestation, Chira, one of four female giraffes at the Frankfurt Zoo, will become a mother.

The catch is, giraffes like their privacy when bearing their young. No humans allowed, not even zoo officials.

German radio station FFH has stepped in with a solution for the natural voyeur in all of us. It has positioned a webcam inside Chira's enclosure at the zoo and announced it will broadcast the blessed event when it happens. Not only does it satisfy all of our giraffe-ian curiosities, but it also gives zoo officials a medium to watch the birth and monitor the health of Chira and her new calf.

In case you're wondering, giraffes birth their calves standing up, and the young-un's introduction to its new world begins with a 2-meter plunge from birth to earth. In anticipation, zoo officials have tried to cushion the calf's landing, so to speak, by layering Chira's stall with a thick layer of straw.

So warm up those high-speed connections, point your browser to

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FFH's Web site, click on "Giraffen Cam," and watch for one of nature's miracles.

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