Niabi Zoo unexpectedly welcomes baby alpaca

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Coal Valley (KWQC) - Niabi Zoo welcomed a baby alpaca who was born around 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.

The Niabi zoo welcomed their new baby alpaca on Sunday afternoon and named it Canela. (KWQC)

The baby alpaca, otherwise known as a cria, is named Canela.

One of the zoo employees present during the birth picked the South American name, which is Spanish for cinnamon.

While the zoo was hoping new parents Paila and Mani would eventually have a baby, they had no idea he was already on his way.

The zoo employees didn’t notice any signs Paila was pregnant until the day she gave birth.

“Alpacas are really good at hiding it for a very long time, said Kristina Stump, Niabi Zoo Primary Hoofstock Keeper. “So until the very last month it is very difficult to tell that your alpaca is pregnant. But now we have this beautiful little baby boy.”

But they noticed something might be up when Paila wouldn’t eat on Sunday morning.

“She wasn’t very interested, didn’t want to get up, was standing up and laying down a lot,” said Kristina Stump. “She was in the early stages of labor that way which can last for several hours.”

Later on Sunday afternoon, one of the zookeepers saw Paila beginning to give birth.

Some zoo visitors saw the beginning stages of the birth as they rode past the exhibit on the train.

However, zoo employees closed off the area to give the new mom and her baby space.

“Luckily the mom did great,” said Stump. “Everything went smoothly. We as keepers didn’t really have to do anything besides observe and let nature take its course with them.”

Zoo employees said they already have people stopping by hoping to see the baby -- who is already showing signs of big personality.

“Yesterday we opened the gate up so the donkeys could come back over and the baby ran right over to them,” said Stump. “They were slightly terrified of that. So she kind of put them in their place right from the beginning.”

You can meet Canela along with the other animals at the domestic animal area exhibit of the zoo.