Giraffe

Giraffe Calf Ballyhoo at Belfast Zoo

(4)  Keepers first discovered Neja’s pregnancy in 2013 and after a gestation period of approximately 15 months, she displayed signs of labour in the afternoon.

Visitors got a surprise at Belfast Zoo, on Monday, when they witnessed the birth of a Rothschild’s Giraffe calf!

(1)  Visitors got a surprise at Belfast zoo on Monday when they witnessed the birth of a Rothschild’s giraffe calf!  IMAGE BY ZOO VISITOR, JOHNNY MEGARRY.

(2)  The latest addition was born to mother, Neja and father, Finn, on Monday 01 September.  IMAGE BY ZOO VISITOR, JOHNNY MEGARRY.

(3)  Giraffe give birth standing up and the calf falls more than five feet to the ground!  The calf stands within 30 minutes!  IMAGE BY ZOO VISITOR, JOHNNY MEGARRY.Photo Credits: Belfast Zoo (Images: 1,5,6,7,8); Johnny Megarry (Images: 2,3,4)

The latest addition was born to mother, Neja, and father, Finn, on Monday, September 1st.  Keepers first discovered Neja’s pregnancy in 2013, and after a gestation period of approximately 15 months, she displayed signs of labor in the afternoon. 

Giraffes give birth standing up, and the calf will fall more than five feet to the ground!  The calf learns to stand within 30 minutes and can run just 10 hours after birth!

Belfast Zoo curator, Alyn Cairns, is delighted with the new arrival, “Keepers were onsite throughout the labor to ensure that everything went smoothly.  Since the birth, we have been giving the pair time to bond.  For that reason, we have not yet had the opportunity to find out what sex the latest arrival is.  As we are extremely proud of being the only zoo in Northern Ireland, it is a tradition that we name our giraffe calves after towns and villages in Northern Ireland and Ireland which begin with ‘Bally’.  If the calf is male it will be called ‘Ballyrory’ and if female it will be called ‘Ballymena’.”

The Rothschild’s Giraffe is one of the most endangered of the nine subspecies of giraffe, and they are part of a breeding program with the EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquariums).  Belfast Zoo first became home to giraffes in 1988, and since then, 33 calves have been born at the Cave Hill site.

See more photos below the fold.

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Visitors Witness Giraffe Birth at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

IMG_6808Visitors taking an early morning tour at Australia's Taronga Western Plains Zoo on August 3 got an unexpected bonus when they witnessed the birth of a baby Giraffe!

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Giraffe calf-LS-06-08-2014 (35)_cropPhoto Credit:  Taronga Western Plains Zoo 

Keepers named the male calf Nkosi (pronounced N-koh-see), meaning “ruler” or “chief” in Zulu.

Nkosi is the second calf for mother Ntombi, who is very protective of her calf but is showing all the right maternal behaviours.

“The Giraffe calf is on exhibit with the rest of the herd; however, he is still a little shy, spending most of the day at the back of the exhibit,” said Giraffe Keeper Kevin Milton

“Over the coming weeks, he will start to become more confident and explore the rest of the exhibit.”

Africa's Giraffe populations have decreased an estimated 30% in the last 10 years, with an approximately 80,000 Giraffes remaining in the wild. The dramatic decrease is directly due to poaching for bush meat and habitat encroachment by farmers.

“Every birth for a species such as the Giraffe that are seeing a decline in wild populations is important, as it helps to insure against extinction.”

The Taronga Zoo participates in programs such as Beads for Wildlife, which provides communities in Kenya alternate sources of income, thus reducing their dependence on livestock. 

“Less livestock means less pressure on water and food for wildlife such as the Giraffe,” said Milton. 

See more photos of the Giraffe calf below.

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Playful Giraffe Calf Meets the Herd at Zoo Praha

10496192_10152172955692581_3537528698723972847_oBorn on August 9 at the Czech Republic’s Zoo Praha, this baby Giraffe is already integrated into daily life among the herd.

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10580934_10152172955022581_8755031019253461923_oPhoto Credit:  Petr Hamernik

The male calf took his first steps within hours of birth to Fary, his mother.  When he was introduced to the rest of the herd, the other Giraffes reacted with great curiosity to the newcomer.  The calf ran, frolicked, and explored the Giraffes’ automatic waterers with interest.  He also got up close to zoo guests through the exhibit window.

Moving among the herd can be intimidating for a little Giraffe, so he still spends much of his time very close to his mother. 

Giraffes were once plentiful on Africa’s savannahs, but recent studies show that Giraffe populations are declining at an alarming rate.  

See more photos of the Giraffe calf below.

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Binder Park Zoo Makes Way for Some New Arrivals!

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Binder Park Zoo will introduce to exhibit for the first time, not one, but two baby Giraffes born this summer! The first baby, born on June 12th, is a female named Kitovu. Her mother is 5 ½ year old Kayin. The second baby Giraffe is a male named Hulka, and he was born on June 16th to Makena.

With the opening of Binder Park's Wild Africa in 1999, the newest baby Giraffe arrivals are helping to celebrate 15 years of this award-winning exhibit.  For many years, the Zoo hadn’t had any baby Giraffes but that all began to change in 2009 when the first baby Giraffe in Binder Park Zoo history was born - since that time, there have been a total of nine Giraffes born at the zoo, including these two newest additions. On June 12th, 5 ½ year old Kayin, gave birth to a female calf weighing 104.5 pounds. This is Kayin’s second calf. The keepers named the calf “Kitovu” meaning belly button in Swahili.  Then just a few days later, on June 16th, zookeepers welcomed yet another baby. Makena, the Zoo’s 14 ½ year old female Giraffe, gave birth to her third calf. The keepers named the 159 pound male calf “Hulka” meaning nature. Out of the nine calves born at Binder Park, he is the largest.  Kasuku Mdomo, who is 7 years old, fathered both calves.

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Summer Brings First Rare Giraffe Birth of the Year at Lion Country Safari

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Lion Country Safari, a leader in Giraffe breeding programs in North America with over 60 Giraffe births, just welcomed its first giraffe calf of 2014. The baby, named Nafari, which means “first-born” in Swahili, was born June 24th. He was born weighing 141.5 pounds (64.3 kg) and measured 70 inches (1.78 m) tall. 

Nafari and his mom are segregated from the herd in the maternity pen to allow bonding time.  They are visible in the drive-through preserve (section 7, Hwange National Park) or from the Giraffe feeding exhibit at Lion Country Safari.  In nearly three months, they will join the remainder of the Giraffe herd at Lion Country Safari. Soon enough, Nafari will have younger companions as other female Giraffe are expected to give birth in the near future.

Nafari with Tuli

Tuli & Nafari Side View

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Female Giraffe reproduce year-round beginning at about four years of age. Their conception peak is usually during the rainy season and their gestation lasts approximately fifteen months. Giraffe calves are born while the mother is in a standing position and they drop to the ground head first. Life expectancy of a Giraffe is twenty-five years.
 
Lion Country Safari is dedicated to the captive breeding of a number of rare or endangered species and is proud to participate in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Species Survival Plan. This conservation program helps to ensure the survival of selected wildlife species.


Hi, Mom! Baby Giraffe Born at Dickerson Park Zoo

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A baby Giraffe was born on exhibit at the Dickerson Park Zoo on May 19 while zoo staff and curious visitors looked on.  These photos were taken in the first hours after the birth.

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IMG_9651-medPhoto Credit:  Dickerson Park Zoo

The calf, whose gender has not been confirmed and who has not yet been named, appears healthy.  The calf met two important milestones – standing and nursing – within two hours of birth. 

This is the 12th calf for 21-year-old Gidget.  As an experienced mother, Gidget immediately began licking her calf clean after the birth.  Like most Giraffe calves, this newborn is about six feet tall.

Giraffes are pregnant for 14-15 months and give birth standing up.  Calves drop about six feet to the ground and begin trying to stand shortly afterward.  In the wild, it is important for calves to stand and walk as soon as possible to avoid becoming prey for lions or hyenas.  


Rothschild Giraffe Calf Bonds with Mom at Dublin Zoo

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Dublin Zoo in Ireland is celebrating the birth of a male Rothschild Giraffe, born on May 7. The yet unnamed calf stands tall at five feet seven inches (1.7 m) and weighs an estimated 150 pounds (70 kg). He was born to experienced parents Maeve and Robin, and joins a herd of eight giraffes at Dublin Zoo. 

The successful birth of this calf is wonderful news as the Rothschild Giraffe is one of the most threatened subspecies of giraffe. 

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5 giraffePhoto credit: Patrick Bolger / Dublin Zoo

With only a few hundred left in the wild, Rothschild Giraffes (also known as the Baringo Giraffe or the Ugandan Giraffe) are close to meeting the International Union for Conservation of Nature's threshold as Critically Endangered. According the to The Rothschild's Giraffe Project, fewer than 670 individuals remain in the the wild today, in 13 small populations in Uganda and Kenya. They are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. 

Rothschild Giraffes can be identified by their slightly jagged and more lightly colored spot pattern, and by their light, unmarked legs below the knees. 

See more photos after the fold.

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Masai Giraffe Calf Tumbles into the World

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On April 14, Jamala, a 16 year-old Masai Giraffe gave birth to a calf at Safari West in California. The  gangly, six foot (1.8 m) male calf weighs about 120 pounds (54 kg) and has been named Phoenix. He’s gentle, playful and full of spirit! He was born on the eve of the total lunar eclipse, making the birth all the more unique and exciting for the zoo.  

This is the third calf for father, 11-year-old Tufani, and Jamala’s fourth baby. The Masai Giraffe, also known as the Maasai Giraffe or Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies of giraffe and the tallest land mammal. They are typically the darkest of the subspecies.

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Photo credit: Safari West

A leg first emerged at approximately 9am. His head was visible at 9:30am. Typical of giraffes, his life started with a six foot plunge. He was born at 10am and stood at 10:30am. The calf nursed soon after standing. MaThe baby will soon be out with the other giraffes, playing together and chasing the cranes or just having fun like giraffes do. This makes the twenty-seventh baby giraffe born at Safari West and the third Masai Giraffe baby.

There are only one hundred Masai Giraffes in North America in just 20 different locations, as recorded by According to the International Species Information system. According to the Giraffe Conservation Organization, Masai Giraffes may be the most populous of the sub-species with an estimated fewer than 40,000 remaining in the wild, though recent reports of significant poaching would suggest it likely to be significantly less. 

See and read more after the fold. 

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Giraffe Born on Valentine's Day Has a Heart-shaped Spot

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A baby Giraffe born on Valentine’s Day at Belgium’s Planckendael Zoo bears a very special birthmark – a heart-shaped spot on the haunches!

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Photo Credit: Planckendael / Steffanie Klaassen

Zoo keepers knew that female Giraffe Barbie was about to give birth sometime around February 14, so they separated her from the herd and set up a closed-circuit camera to keep watch through the night.  Barbie is an experienced mother, having delivered three other calves, and the entire birth process went smoothly.  Zoo keepers were thrilled to see the newborn stand and begin nursing right on schedule.  Barbie licked her newborn clean as it stood on long, wobbly legs. 

The baby’s gender has not yet been confirmed, so zoo keepers have not yet named the calf.  All babies born at Planckendael in 2014 will have names beginning with the letter P, so zoo keepers are searching for beautiful African names that begin with P.

Barbie and her newborn will remain indoors for a few weeks until warmer temperatures arrive.  Planckendael participates in the European breeding program for Giraffes and supports in situ conservation efforts in Niger.

See more photos of the baby Giraffe below the fold.

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Say Hello to Houston Zoo's Giraffe Calf

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A male Masai Giraffe calf born at the Houston Zoo on February 4 was standing and nursing just over an hour after his birth – all signs that point to a healthy and strong baby.

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Photo Credit:  Houston Zoo

The calf was born to female Giraffe Tyra after a 14-month gestation.  “Tyra went into labor at approximately 10:45 AM on Tuesday, February 4 and delivered her baby boy at 12:49 PM,” said Houston Zoo Giraffe Senior Keeper Kim Siegl.  “The calf was standing on his own by 1:17 PM and was nursing by 1:57 PM.”

As soon as Tyra gave birth, she began grooming her calf while he was lying down. Once the calf was on his feet, Tyra was even more attentive. The rest of the Giraffe herd stood by, watching as mother and calf got to know each other.

“The calf weighs 165 pounds and is six and a half feet tall. He’s a big healthy boy,” said Siegl.  This is the eighth calf for 15-year-old Tyra.  The calf’s father, Mtembei, is six years old.  With this new arrival, the Houston Zoo’s herd of Masai Giraffe has grown to nine.

The Giraffe keepers who cared for Tyra during her pregnancy and were present for the birth will have the honor of naming the newest addition to the Houston Zoo’s Giraffe herd.

About 100 Masai Giraffes currently live in 28 North American zoos.  The tallest living land animal, Giraffes can stand up to 17 feet tall and weigh more than 3,000 pounds.