The New Year started off big (and tall) for BIOPARC Valencia, in Spain, with the birth of a female Rothschild Giraffe.
Zora, an experienced mother, and has taken quite naturally to her new baby. The father, Julius, is the only adult male specimen living at BIOPARC Valencia and is the progenitor of the rest of the calves born in the park.
The small new Giraffe has been spending time being pampered by mom. Aunt Che, accompanies them at all times by providing company and helping them enjoy the tranquility of their interior quarters, which also have a patio to enjoy the sun and pleasant temperatures.
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, due to habitat destruction and poaching. Its geographic distribution includes central Kenya, northern Uganda and southern Sudan. According to latest figures, there are fewer than 1,500 individuals in the wild. BIOPARC Valencia participates in the EEP (captive breeding program for endangered species), and this new breeding is involved in this important initiative to preserve biodiversity.
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.”