A Rothschild’s Giraffe born at the United Kingdom’s Paignton Zoo on January 11 is thriving under the care of zoo keepers after her mother rejected her.
Photo Credit: Miriam Haas/Paignton Zoo
Keepers are not sure why the mother, Janica, refused to care for her female calf, which has been named Eliska, but they have wholeheartedly taken on the daunting task of caring for a six-foot-tall baby who drinks up to two gallons of milk a day.
Senior head keeper of mammals Matthew Webb, who has been helping to feed Eliska, said, “She will take in around 10% of her body weight in milk each day and gain weight just as quickly. She was 63 kilos (139 pounds) at birth, but as she grows, so will her milk requirements.”
Luckily, a local organic dairy farm has offered to supply the zoo with milk as long as Eliska needs it. Eliska is fed four times a day and could need milk for up to nine months. She will begin weaning at around five to six months of age.
As soon as possible, keepers plan to introduce Eliska to the rest of the herd. This is an important step and will ensure that Eliska knows that she is a Giraffe, not a human. Paignton Zoo has successfully hand-reared one other Giraffe calf.
Rothschild's Giraffes, also known as Baringo Giraffes, are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Those living in European zoos are managed by the European Endangered Species Program.
See more photos of the Giraffe calf below.