Early in the morning on August 21, a baby Rothschild’s Giraffe was born at New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo!
The male calf was born to mother Kiraka and father Zabulu. This is the second calf for Kiraka and the first male calf to be born at the zoo since 2010.
For now, Kiraka and her calf are behind the scenes bonding, but the staff expects them to join the herd in the exhibit soon.
Baby Giraffes are born while the mother is standing, and fall six feet to the ground. The fall breaks the umbilical cord and induces the newborn to take its first breath. Mom immediately begins licking her baby, and the calf attempts to stand within the first hour of birth. Shortly afterward, the calf will begin to nurse. These instincts are important to a calf's survival in the wild. If the calf can’t get up and move right away, it could fall prey to hungry hyenas or lions.
Once believed to be plentiful across Africa, Giraffes are now known to be in serious decline. Of the nine subspecies of Giraffes, two are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – including the Rothschild’s Giraffe. Threats come from loss and fragmentation of habitat. Giraffes have already become extinct in seven African countries.