Dublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a male Rothschild Giraffe. The calf was born October 25th and stands tall at 1.5 meters (5 feet) and weighs an estimated 45 kg (99 lbs.).
The giraffe calf made his first outside appearance in the Dublin Zoo’s African Savanna at four-days-old. He joins a herd of eight Rothschild Giraffes at Dublin Zoo.
Team leader at Dublin Zoo, Helen Clarke-Bennett said, “The calf was born in the giraffe house with the other female members of the herd present. The team watched the birth unfold on our closed circuit cameras. The birth took over an hour and we noticed that the herd was very attentive each step of the way. We’re very excited about this addition to the Dublin Zoo herd.”
The Rothschild Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also known as the Baringo Giraffe, is one of the most threatened of the nine sub-species of giraffe. It is named after the Tring Museum’s founder, Walter Rothschild.
All individuals living in the wild are in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda. The Rothschild Giraffe is at risk of hybridization and is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.
The Rothschild Giraffe is distinguishable from other subspecies because of its coloring. Where as the Reticulated Giraffe has very defined dark patches with bright channels between, the Rothschild has paler, orange-brown patches that are less defined. Also, the Rothschild has no markings on the lower leg.
This subspecies mate any time of year and have a gestation period of 14 to 16 months, typically giving birth to a single calf. They prefer to live in small herds, with adult males and females only mixing for mating. Males are larger than females and tend to be darker in color.
According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: “Current estimates of population size [of the Rothschild Giraffe] are well below 2,500 mature individuals, numbers are declining overall and no subpopulation is estimated to contain more than 250 mature individuals. The population is potentially close to meeting the population threshold for Critically Endangered under criterion C, depending on the number of individuals, if any, that survive in south Sudan.”