Auckland Zoo is celebrating the arrival of its 31st giraffe calf: a 5.5 foot (1.7 m) female, delivered in record time to 12-year-old giraffe mum, Rukiya. The fifth offspring for Rukiya and 13-year-old dad Zabulu was born at 11:10 am on August 3, following a labour of less than three hours - Rukiya's fastest delivery to date.
The yet-to-named calf was standing within half an hour, with experienced mum Rukiya taking it all in her stride as she demonstrated her exceptional mothering skills. This included having her newborn successfully suckle from her the minute it could stand, something keeping staff have not seen at any other giraffe birth.
"Rukiya really took us by surprise this time. She was incredibly relaxed the day before the birth and right up until she started going into labour, and gave us none of the usual and obvious signs she was ready for action. She also stayed amazingly calm throughout the labour - which was significantly shorter than her others and by far the easiest and most relaxed," says Pridelands keeper, Kathryn McKee, who has been present for all five of Rukiya's births.
See the rest of the story after the fold.