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Keepers and conservationists at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare Rothschild's Giraffe calf - the world’s most endangered subspecies of Giraffe.  The female calf was born on March 25 to first-time mother Orla after a 14 ½ month pregnancy.  Rothschild’s Giraffes are distinguished by broader dividing white lines and have no spots below the knees.

Despite being just a few days old, the six-foot-tall youngster, named Millie, is already towering over zoo keepers.



Photo Credits:  Chester Zoo

“For a first time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far.  Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after,” said Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals Tim Rowlands.  “Rothschild's Giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programs in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We’re therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer.”

According to conservationists there are now less than 670 Rothschild's Giraffes left in the wild, with the population declining by more than 80% in the last ten years.  Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s Giraffe has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.  These elegant mammals are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Chester Zoo supports important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild's Giraffe with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.

See more photos of Millie below the fold.