On October 24, Poland’s Zoo Wroclaw welcomed a female Reticulated Giraffe to their tower (a herd of Giraffes is called a tower).
The baby, named Irma, stood just under six feet tall at birth, and is the tallest of all the babies born at the zoo to date. Irma’s parents are Imara, the mom, and Rafiki, the father. Two other young females, named Nala and Shani, also live in the tower.
Like all Giraffes, Irma was born while her mother was standing up. The baby dropped six feet to the ground and soon afterward was standing and nursing. The standing birth and the minimal time the baby spends on the ground are essential to survival in the wild, where a newborn baby could be targeted by predators.
Giraffes were once plentiful across Africa, but today the nine subspecies live in fragmented populations, and many of those populations are declining. As a whole, Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, due to illegal hunting and degradation of their habitat. Only about 80,000 Giraffes are estimated to remain today. Zoo breeding programs are an important part of the species’ future.
See more photos of Irma below.