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Kito_Kellsey Melhuish

Taronga Western Plains Zoo is excited to announce the arrival of their second female Giraffe calf of the year. The newest arrival was born on the evening of February 1st.

The birth delighted Zoofari guests who had the chance to witness it during their evening, behind-the-scenes tour. Tour guides quickly alerted Keepers, who excitedly found the healthy calf.

Keepers have named the new female Kito (kee-toe), meaning “gem” in Swahili.

Kito is the first calf for mother, Myzita, who is showing all the right maternal behaviors.

“Kito is on exhibit with the rest of the herd including our other calf Nyah, born earlier this year,” said Giraffe Keeper Fiona Cameron. “She is distinguishable from Nyah by her size and her lighter coloring. Over the coming weeks, Kito will become more confident and we’ll start to see the two calves run, play and explore together. We are still expecting more Giraffe calves to be born this year, which is really very exciting.”

Kito_KellseyMelhuishPhoto Credits: Kellsey Melhuish / Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Giraffe numbers in the wild have been decreasing over the past decade it is estimated less than 80,000 Giraffe remain in the wild. The 30% drop in numbers is directly due to poaching for bush meat and also 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,” Fiona continued.

“Through programs such as Beads for Wildlife, we aim to help animals such as the

Giraffe by providing communities in Kenya with alternate income sources so they don’t have to rely so much on the herds and grazing. Less livestock means less pressure on water and food for wildlife such as the Giraffe.”