Just twenty minutes after his birth, this five-foot, four-inch calf was already walking about on four spindly legs.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomed its twenty-first Reticulated Giraffe to the herd on January 23rd. Msichana, the calf’s eleven-year-old mother, began birthing at noon as zoo visitors looked on. Caretakers quickly moved her to an indoor stall for privacy, and the one-hundred-and-four-pound baby was born within the hour.
Daily monitoring finds that the calf and his mother are doing well. The two are already back on display for the public. After he reaches thirty days old, the zoo will give the calf a name.
Peek over the fold.
Taxonomists currently recognize nine subspecies, or genetically distinct groups, of giraffes. Reticulated Giraffes, also known as Somali Giraffes, are a subspecies that can be identified by their distinctive boxy spot pattern. They are found in Somalia, Ethiopia, and north and eastern Kenya. This subspecies has suffered at least an 80% decline in the past decade alone. There may be fewer than 5,000 individuals of this subspecies left in the wild. Throughout Africa, giraffe subspecies are in decline due to habitat loss and poaching.
Celebrating one hundred and ninety six births since 1954, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has the world’s most prolific herd of captive Reticulated Giraffes. Cheyenne Zoo's highly successful herd of Reticulated Giraffes represents a big step for important research and conservation efforts.