- Associated Press - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

GULF BREEZE, Fla. (AP) - The Gulf Breeze Zoo is experiencing a baby boom.

Since October, the zoo has welcomed several babies, including a hippo, two kangaroos, two bongos and a giraffe.

The Northwest Florida Daily News (https://bit.ly/1eJfYWT ) reports the zoo’s youngest animal is Gamba, a giraffe born Nov. 10. He’s grown more than 2 feet since his birth and is beginning to eat whole foods.

“He definitely has his own personality,” said Tenielle Welch, curator at the zoo in the Florida Panhandle. “He likes to do what he wants to do and you can’t make him do anything else.”

She says visitors are always asking about Gamba.

“He’s at a fun stage. He’s learning to taste, discover. He’s figuring out how his body works.”

The other babies are also thriving in their new environment.

Cooper, the hippo, was born in early October. And two joeys, also born in October, are in the kangaroo exhibit. Two bongos were born a month apart, in October and November.

“All of our baby animals are right on track, learning from their mothers,” she said. “They’re learning what to eat, what to be afraid of, how to act.”

Next up is a baby zebra, expected in four to five months. After that, the baby boom should slow down for a while.

“It’s nice for our guests to see cute babies, but it really shows our hard work. We have created an environment where the animals are healthy enough to have babies.”

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Information from: Northwest Florida Daily News (Fort Walton Beach, Fla.), https://www.nwfdailynews.com

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