Happy birthday to you, you live in a zoo …

Jerrica, daughter of Hillcrest Park Zoo's adult giraffe Jael, turns 1 year old today.

The Rothschild-reticulated cross giraffe is the first giraffe born at the zoo.

"It's a big milestone," said Assistant Zoo Director Mark Yannotti." "It's not easy to raise a baby from day one."

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

Jerrica being bottle fed at 3 weeks old.

Zoo Director Vince Romero said for her birthday, Jerrica will receive extra portions of fruits such as apples and pears and vegetables such as romaine lettuce, celery and carrots.

Jerrica's favorite food is romaine lettuce and fruit. Romero said Jerrica has no health problems. He said a giraffe's life span is typically 20 to 25 years.

Romero said Jerrica is not shy and likes the public. He said his staff will build a feeding platform that will allow visitors to feed her.

Romero also said Jerrica and her mother are getting along well after a rocky start. Mom kicked her new baby shortly after giving birth, forcing zoo personnel to separate the two for a time.

Romero said mom and daughter are now the best of friends.

CNJ staff photo: Tony Bullocks

A curious Jerrica towers over the fence on her enclosure last week.

"At first she (Jael) was so intrigued with the baby and she would try to nudge her," Romero said. "They don't fight or anything."

Jerrica is about 9 feet tall.

Fast facts

Who: Jerrica

• Born: Jan. 25, 2012, at Hillcrest Zoo

What: Rothschild-reticulated cross giraffe

  • She was 5 feet, 10 inches and weighed 120 pounds at birth
  • She stands about 9 feet tall today and will reach 12 to 15 by age 3

• Her public debut March 11 resulted in record crowds

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