Sometime in the next year or two, the veterinarians at the Dallas Zoo hope to implant an okapi embryo in the uterus of a female giraffe. The okapi, a distant and shorter cousin of the giraffe, is a very rare species (only sixty are held in captivity worldwide) that has a lengthy gestation period of fifteen months and produces just one offspring at a time. By using a “surrogate mother” for the first embryo, the female okapi can double her reproduction. If all goes as planned, a female giraffe (we’ll call her “G”) may be in serious need of postnatal counsel-ing. We think the talk will go something like this.
G; Doe. it was horrible. Theshame of it-and the other giraffes aren’t speaking to me. Of course, giraffes don’t speak to each other anyway, but it’s still embarrassing. I think they believe I have committed in-terspecies infidelity.
DOC: Just relax and tell me what happened.
G: You mean after some of your guys came around with a stepladder? It started out so normally. Just another pregnancy. Standing around watching my ankles swell somewhere way down there. Sudden cravings in the middle of the night, followed by the daunting realization that even if I had a jar of pickles. I wouldn’t know how to open them. And just fry having morning sickness when you’ve got a twelve-foot throat. But then, after fifteen months, to give birth to this, this, this thing….
DOC: Whal kind of thing. Mrs. Giraffe?
G: I don’t know. The men with the ladder came and took it away, thankfully, before we bonded. But you won’t believe mc, Doe. What happened?
DOC: It’s simple. We “primed” you, We were shooting you so full of hormones that you’d have felt those motherly feelings even it” we’d loaded you with a wart-hog, a porcupine, or a bowling ball.
G: What was done with my child? Why wasn’t 1 allowed to keep it?
DOC: You couldn’t have fed it. unless you got it a stepladder. And the okapis weren’t interested in raising it since they weren’t primed. So we’re raising it ourselves, bottle-feeding it.
G: You mean it’s going to grow up and be a scientist??? M\ poor baby!