Visitors 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!
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.