Giraffe

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.


Paignton Zoo Welcomes a Giraffe Calf

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A Rothschild’s Giraffe has been born at Paignton Zoo in the UK! The female calf was born to mother Sangha and father Yoda on the afternoon of January 25.

“She was born during the day, which is unusual but not unheard of. Giraffes mostly give birth overnight,” said Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment. 

The yet unnamed calf is doing well and stands nearly six feet tall.

The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. Mothers give birth standing up – the calf's fall to the ground breaks the umbilical cord. The little calf's head is protect by small, knoby horns. Calves can stand and run within a few hours of birth. 

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3 giraffePhoto credit: Paignton Zoo

See a video of the birth:

 

Paignton Zoo's giraffes are a subspecies called the Rothschild or Baringo Giraffe. Rothschild's Giraffes are classified as Endangered, and their breeding across European zoos is managed by a European Endangered Species Program. 

Father Yoda came from Givskud Zoo, Denmark, where he was born in November 2004. He arrived at Paignton Zoo in September 2006. Sangha came from Liberec Zoo in Slovakia. The Zoo’s other female is Janica, who came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The other youngsters at the zoo are Valentino, born to mother Janica in February 2012 and Otilie, who was born to mother Sangha in September 2012. A male calf was born in August 2013 to Janica and Yoda, but sadly, he died soon afterwards.


Baby Giraffe Groomed for Introductions

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On December 31, a 10-day-old female Masai Giraffe at the San Diego Zoo took her first venture around her exhibit, meeting other members of her herd and running, kicking and appearing very comfortable with her new surroundings. The calf was born in the early hours of December 22 and, until today, has been in a restricted 'playpen' area of the habitat until animal care staff felt she was old enough to venture into the larger space. 

Mom, Bahati, introduced her new calf to the rest of the herd, after tenderly grooming her to make sure she was presentable enough to meet the rest of the family. 

Keepers report the calf is healthy and progressing very well, even though she is still getting used to her legs, as evidenced by a few spills taken during her morning run. She measured 6 feet 1 inch tall (185.4 cm) and weighed 157 pounds (71 kg) at birth. She may weigh as much as 500 pounds (227 kg) and stand up to seven-and-a-half-feet tall (229 cm) by the time she is six months old. 

Masai Giraffes are native to Africa and are threatened in some areas. Also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, the Masai Giraffe is the largest Giraffe subspecies and tallest land mammal on Earth.  

This is the tenth calf born to mother, Bahati; the father is the herd sire, Silver.  Other Giraffes in the herd include two adult females and a female youngster born last May. Visitors to the San Diego Zoo can see the active and curious Giraffe calf, yet to be named, on exhibit in the Urban Jungle.