The tallest baby in the world has just been born at Paignton Zoo in England: a Rothschild's Giraffe calf, standing at nearly six feet tall! The as yet unnamed and unsexed calf was born to mother Janica and father Yoda on the morning August 20.
Says Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment, “The first thing that happens to a baby giraffe when it is born is a six foot drop onto the ground – it’s a hard way to start!” The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. The mother gives birth standing up – the fall breaks the umbilical cord. The calf can stand and run within a few hours.
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Father Yoda came from Givskud Zoo in Denmark, where he was born in 2004. The mother, Janica, came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic. The other youngsters at the Zoo are Valentino, born to Janica in February 2012 and Otilie, who was born to mother Sangha in September 2012.
They are all a subspecies of giraffe called Rothschild's or Baringo Giraffes. Rothschild's Giraffes are classified as Endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List of Threatened Species. Paignton Zoo takes part in a European Endangered species Programme for these giraffes.