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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s Viv, a young giraffe, turned 2 years old on July 6. The daughter of Msitu and Khalid, Viv gained her nickname just six hours after she was born, when she famously leap-frogged over Msitu’s back (while she was lying down), earning a reputation as independent, strong and super-charged.

Children’s Hospital Colorado, in partnership with Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, threw Viv a birthday party on July 17, complete with a ‘birthday cake’ of fruits and vegetables. Participants wrote her birthday cards, sang her Happy Birthday and visited the 17-member herd of giraffes.

“Knowing our Viv, we’re stepping into the ‘Terrific Twos,’ and she’ll continue to keep us on our toes as she has from day one,” said Amy Schilz, senior lead keeper in African Rift Valley, and Viv’s primary trainer. “This girl has become known for her adorable antics, like running after the cranes and guinea fowl in the yard, or stretching to reach a tree we didn’t intend to be giraffe food. Pretty much any time we get a radio call that one of the giraffes is up to something, we know it’s probably Viv!”

Viv’s friends in the herd include 2-year-old Ohe, 9-month-old BB and 3-year-old Panya. “She has become really outgoing since becoming part of the four ‘littles’ group,” said Schilz. “You can usually find Viv and Ohe together. They get each other going in the yard, and will kick up the dirt and encourage each other to run around. We’ve also seen them ‘cuddling,’ when they take naps and lie down right next to each other in the barn midday. Because they seem to really like to be together, we have ‘baby training days’ in the barn.”

News Reporter

Heidi Beedle is a former soldier, educator, activist, and animal welfare worker. She received a Bachelor’s in English from UCCS. She has worked as a freelance writer covering LGBTQ issues, nuclear disasters, cattle mutilations, and social movements.