As zoo keepers walked their early morning rounds on New Year’s Day at Australia’s Taronga Western Plains Zoo, they discovered the zoo’s first baby of 2016: a female Giraffe calf with her mother, Ntombi.
Nyah is Ntombi’s third calf. Keepers say Ntombi is very protective of her calf, but she is showing all the right maternal behaviors.
“The Giraffe calf is on exhibit with the rest of the herd, however, she is still a little shy, spending a lot of her day at the back of the exhibit,” said Giraffe keeper Jackie Stuart. “Over the coming weeks, she will start to become more confident and explore the rest of the exhibit.”
Wild Giraffe numbers have decreased dramatically over the past decade. Scientists estimate that fewer than 80,000 Giraffes remain in Africa’s wild grasslands and savannahs. The 30% drop in numbers is due to poaching for bush meat and human encroachment into formerly wild lands.
The zoo participates in programs such as Beads for Wildlife, which provides income for Kenyan communities thereby reducing dependence on livestock, which require grazing. With less livestock, the number of wildlife/livestock conflicts can be reduced, as well as reducing pressure on food and water sources.