Giraffe

Baby Giraffe Tries Out His New (Very Long) Legs

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At just five days old, Sanyu the Giraffe calf is already walking -and sometimes running - tall with the rest of the herd at the United Kingdom’s Chester Zoo

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GiraffePaddock-29Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo
 
The five-foot-tall  youngster – a rare Rothschild’s Giraffe – took his very first steps in the sunshine after being born on June 7. He is the second calf to be born at the zoo in just six months. Sanyu, whose name means “happiness” in Swahili, is the first male to be born at the zoo in recent years, with the previous four calves before him being female. 

“Sanyu has had a busy week getting used to his long legs, learning about his surroundings and settling in with the rest of the herd. He’s doing really well so far under the watchful guidance of his mum Dagmar,” said Giraffe team manager Sarah Roffe. 

Also known as Baringo or Ugandan Giraffes, this subspecies can be identified by the broader white lines dividing its spots and the lack of spots below the knees.

There are fewer Rothschild’s Giraffes left in the wild than either African Elephants or Giant Pandas.  Rothschild’s Giraffes were listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2010 after estimates suggested less than 1,100 are left in the wild – making them one of the world’s most endangered Giraffe subspecies.  Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda, and Sudan, Rothschild’s Giraffes have been almost totally eliminated from much of their former range and now survive in only a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.

See more photos of Sanyu below.

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Taipei Zoo Welcomes Giraffe Calf

1_10688364_967667936611353_2302263355237860855_oAfter a 15-month-long gestation period, a veteran Giraffe mom, at Taipei Zoo, gave birth on May 13th.  The healthy male Giraffe calf fell to earth at a height of 5.9 feet (180 cm) and a weight of 137 lbs (62 kg). He has been given the nickname ‘Xiao Zhang’. 2_11110866_967667939944686_2846140218222091821_o

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4_11313142_967667926611354_3212001397699338567_oPhoto Credits: Taipei Zoo

Mother and calf are doing well, and the newborn is nursing, as hoped. They will be off-exhibit until they are both stronger and have had opportunity to bond.

The calf’s birth occurred just two days after the Zoo’s unfortunate loss of a female calf, named ‘Chick’. Chick’s mother refused to nurse her, and, despite two months of intense intervention by keepers, Chick refused to eat and passed from malnutrition.

Giraffe gestation lasts 400-460 days, after which a single calf is normally born, although twins occur on rare occasions. The mother gives birth standing up. The calf emerges head and front legs first, having broken through the fetal membranes, and falls to the ground, severing the umbilical cord. The mother then grooms the newborn and helps it stand up. A newborn Giraffe is about 6ft (182.88 cm) tall. Within hours of birth, the calf can run around and is almost indistinguishable from a one-week-old. However, for the first 1 to 3 weeks, it spends most of its time hiding; its coat pattern providing camouflage. The ossicones (horn-like protuberance on head), which have lain flat while in womb, become erect within a few days.

The Giraffe species, as a whole, is classified as “Least Concern” on the IUCN Red List. However, Giraffes have been extirpated from much of their historic range, including: Eritrea, Guinea, Mauritania, and Senegal. They may have also disappeared from Angola, Mali, and Nigeria. They have been introduced to Rwanda and Swaziland. Two subspecies, the West African Giraffe and the Rothschild Giraffe, have been classified as “Endangered”.

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Dallas Zoo Home to Famous Giraffe Calf

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On April 10th, the birth of a female Giraffe calf, at the Dallas Zoo, caught the attention of animal-lovers worldwide after the Zoo and Animal Planet launched the joint project, GIRAFFE BIRTH LIVE CAM, to show the birth on the Animal Planet L!VE streaming video site. 

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Meet Kipenzi

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Online viewers have so far watched over 2 million video streams since the cameras launched. Many viewers tuned in after Animal Planet aired the birth live on-air, narrated by the Dallas Zoo’s Harrison Edell, the senior director of living collections. A Mother’s Day Special will air on Animal Planet, this Sunday May 10th, at 9am Eastern. You can also catch replay of highlights from the event on the Animal Planet L!VE webpage, at the following links: http://www.apl.tv/giraffe-birth-live.htm and at http://www.animalplanet.com/tv-shows/giraffe-birth-live/videos/giraffe-birth-live-highlights/?_ga=1.38708640.2028738701.1431005825

Giraffe mom, ‘Katie’, went into labor just before 5 pm April 10 and delivered the healthy calf less than an hour later. During the live broadcast, Mr. Edell calmly took viewers through the drama of the live birth, describing the events, checking in with the zoo’s veterinary team and teaching about the threats the magnificent animals face in the wild. Mirroring viewers’ excitement, he captured the staff’s elation during milestones such as: when the calf opened its eyes, tried several times to stand, began to walk, and began to nurse. One of the most popular moments, during the live broadcast, was when the other members of the zoo’s Giraffe herd poked their heads over the wall of the maternity stall to check in on the birth.

“We love having this type of platform to share this incredible event,” said Gregg Hudson, Dallas Zoo president and chief executive officer. “To be able to share this with so many people around the world is very special. We couldn’t be prouder of our staff and, of course, of Katie!”

The calf’s father is ‘Tebogo’, one of the most popular Giraffes at the Dallas Zoo. Katie has one previous calf, ‘Jamie’, who was born in 2011. Jamie remains with the 13-member Dallas Zoo herd, which roams the award-winning Giants of the Savanna habitat. The Dallas Zoo is the only zoo in the United States to allow Giraffes and Elephants to mingle with each other, alongside Zebra, Impala, Guinea Fowl and other African species.

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Auckland Zoo Welcomes 32nd Giraffe Calf

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Auckland Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its 32nd Giraffe calf! The six foot female was born to 13-year-old ‘Rukiya’, on April 23rd.

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11174714_10152840471931984_1112685336687027331_oPhoto Credits: Auckland Zoo

The new calf is the sixth offspring for 'Rukiya' and 17-year-old dad, ‘Zabulu’.

"Rukiya took about an hour and half to deliver this little one, which is on a par with most Giraffe deliveries. She's such a fantastic mum, we really couldn't ask for better. Her calf was walking within half an hour, and has been suckling well," says Auckland Zoo's Pridelands team leader, Nat Sullivan, who witnessed the birth.

"It was so great to see the birth. Even though I’ve seen many here over the years, to me, it’s still one of the coolest things you can ever experience,” says Nat.

A recent health check by vets confirmed the newborn is in great health.

Keepers will soon be selecting a name for the girl, and mother and calf will be gradually integrated with the rest of their herd in the Giraffe paddocks of the Pridelands area, within the next month. 

The Pridelands exhibit, at the Auckland Zoo, is a walk through area that allows visitors to experience the sights and sounds of native African animals. 

More great pics, below the fold!

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A Princess Makes Her Debut at Zoo Miami

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On April 15th, Zoo Miami’s newest baby Giraffe made its first appearance, on exhibit, with the rest of the herd!  The baby was born April 8th, to 4½ year old mom, ‘Sabra’. 

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Photo Credits: Zoo Miami

The newborn weighed 108 pounds, stood a little over 5 feet tall, and staff determined the baby to be a female during her first neonatal exam. She has been named, ‘Princess Buttercup’.

Though this is Sabra’s first baby, it is the 47th giraffe born in the history of Zoo Miami. The father’s name was ‘Fezzik’. He was born at the St. Louis Zoo and arrived at Zoo Miami in May of 1998. Unfortunately, Fezzik died in November of last year, due to age related crippling arthritis. Sabra arrived at Zoo Miami from the Blank Park Zoo, in Des Moines, Iowa, in November 2013.

Giraffes have a gestation period of approximately 15 months, and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor, where it receives quite an impactful introduction to the world!  

More amazing pics, below the fold!

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Rare Giraffe Calf Surprises Keepers at Zoo Basel

Kordofan_giraffe_majengo_mutter_sophie_ZOB0584When keepers arrived at Switzerland’s Zoo Basel in the early morning on April 1, they were greeted by a brand-new arrival:  female Giraffe Sophie had just delivered a healthy baby boy!

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Kordofan_giraffe_majengo_vater_xamburu_ZOB0966Photo Credit:  Zoo Basel

A video camera installed in the barn revealed that Sophie became restless at about 4:45 AM and kept looking at her belly.  After just a few hours of labor, her calf was born at 7:10 AM.  Another female Giraffe, named Kianga, was present during the birth and the calf’s father, Xamburu, looked on.  Though both were very interested in the new arrival, Sophie would not allow them to get too close.

The calf, named Majengo, easily walked onto a scale later in the day and weighed in at 123 pounds.  He stood about six feet tall.  For now, Majengo gets most of his nourishment by nursing, but he has already nibbled on leaves and alfalfa hay.

The Giraffes at Zoo Basel are members of a rare subspecies known as the Kordofan Giraffe.  Found in southern Chad, the Central African Republic, Cameroon, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kodofan Giraffes inhabit some of Africa’s most hostile regions.  Only about 3,000 Kordofan Giraffes are thought to remain in the wild.  They can be distinguished from other Giraffe subspecies by their pale spots.

See more photos of the rare calf below.

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Isn't She Lovely?

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A female Reticulated Giraffe born at the Buffalo Zoo has been named Zuri, which means “lovely” or “beautiful” in Swahili.
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IMG_8348Photo Credit:  Buffalo Zoo

Zuri was born on February 21 to 20-year-old Agnes and 3-year-old Moke.  Giraffe mothers deliver their babies standing up, and the babies typically stand on their own within an hour of birth.

Giraffes are pregnant for around 15 months, and calves usually stay with their mothers for nearly two years. 

On Africa’s plains and grasslands, Giraffe populations have fallen by nearly half since 1999 to about 80,000 animals today. (This figure includes all nine subspecies of Giraffes.)  However, as a species, Giraffes are not listed as Endangered – rather, they are classified as Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Reticulated Giraffes, native to Kenya, number less than 5,000.   The world’s tallest animals face threats from disease, human encroachment, and illegal hunting.  

See more photos of Zuri below.

 

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L.A. Zoo Loves Leo the Giraffe Calf

Giraffe Baby Leo JEP_6871[1]The Los Angeles Zoo welcomed a male Masai Giraffe calf, on November 20th

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Photo Credits: Los Angeles Zoo

The calf was born to six-year-old mother ‘Hasina’, and 18-year-old father, ‘Artemus’. This is the second calf for Hasina, who came from the San Diego Zoo in 2010.

This is a birth the L.A. Zoo is thankful for, as the population of giraffes across the African continent is drastically declining due to hunting and habitat loss.

A Los Angeles area couple also felt a connection to the baby giraffe, and they made the decision to ‘adopt’ the baby and chose to name him ‘Leo’. In making a significant gift to the Zoo’s animal acquisition fund, which promotes vital wildlife preservation and breeding projects locally and around the world, donors Patricia and Stanley Silver chose to name the baby giraffe after Mrs. Silver’s late father, Leo Guthman.

Leo can now be seen on exhibit with the other giraffes daily, weather permitting.


Long, Tall Baby Born at Planckendael

10959667_871843349524570_4741286656375262046_nPlanckendael Zoo, in Belgium, recently witnessed the birth of the largest animal ever born at the zoo.

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Photo Credits: Planckendael

On February 7th, ‘Diamond’ gave birth to a boy who measured just a little over 6 ½ feet! Mother and baby are doing well, and the newcomer is fitting right in with the rest of the herd at the zoo.

(More great photos, below the fold!)

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Meet Jacksonville Zoo’s Photogenic Giraffe Calf

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The New Year started off amazing for Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens, in Florida! On January 17th, the zoo welcomed a 193 pound female Reticulated Giraffe. 

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10931697_10153109864863336_1786564894065325151_oPhoto Credits: Brittney Hendricks 

The calf stood 6 ft. 2 inches, at birth. She has been on exhibit, enjoying becoming acquainted with the rest of the zoo’s young giraffes. Proud parents of the new girl are ‘Naomi’ and ‘Duke’. 

Giraffes are the tallest animals on earth and can reach a maximum height of 18 feet. Both males and females have horns, and each animal has unique markings that grow darker with age. In the wild, giraffes can live up to 25 years, and they have been known to live as long as 28 years, in captivity.

In the wild, they prefer to eat leaves and shoots of trees. However, in zoos, they are fed alfalfa hay, grain, browse, fruits, and vegetables.

Observations in the wild indicate that they lie down only 5-6 hours per night. During most of this time, the animals remain alert with their necks erect and their eyes alternately opened and closed. Giraffes may go into a deep sleep for just 5 minutes each night. During deep sleep a giraffe bends its neck backward in an arch and rests its head behind its back legs or on an extended back leg.

The gestation period for giraffes is about 15 months. Breeding can occur throughout the year and a single calf is born, rarely twins. Calves are usually 6 feet tall and can stand up 20 minutes after birth. Females are excellent mothers and defend their calves vigorously. In the wild, lions are the principal predators of calves, although hyenas, leopards and even wild dogs may also kill newborns up to three months of age. Male calves are weaned at approximately 15 months. Female calves are weaned a couple of months later. There is no difference in the mortality rate between male and female calves.

Jacksonville Zoo acquired their first giraffe, a male named ‘Long John’, in December 1957.