Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are delighted by the arrival of a female Giraffe calf born in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday 1 July 2020.
The calf has been named Layla by her keepers, meaning born overnight in Swahili. Layla is the fifth calf for experienced mother Asmara and was sired by Unami.
“Layla is doing very well so far, she is a very confident calf and is already following the herd around rather than sitting in a secluded area of the paddock like most newborn calves,” said Giraffe Keeper Jack Foley.
“Visitors over the school holiday period were very lucky as she was out on exhibit with the herd from one day old, so lots of people saw her in those first couple of weeks as she was finding her feet.”
“Giraffe calves are like any other newborn, active for a period of time and then resting. The best time to see Layla is in the mornings when she is generally more active,” said Jack.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has a successful history breeding Giraffe and has become the region’s breeding powerhouse for the species. The Zoo often transfers Giraffe to other Zoos throughout Australia. Recently a mother and calf were transferred to Taronga Zoo, Sydney and three males were transferred to the African Savannah exhibit in Dubbo to join the bachelor herd.
The gestation period for a giraffe is 14 – 16 months. Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade with the global population falling up to 40 per cent in the last 30 years as a result of poaching for bush meat and habitat encroachment.
Taronga is active in supporting the plight of Giraffes in the wild, with a well-established partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, one of the largest community conservancies under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The conservancy has improved wildlife security in important animal populations including Giraffe, among other species, by creating a safer ground for their movement and improving rangeland health.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo now has 11 Giraffe in the main breeding herd and another seven Giraffe in the bachelor herd on the African Savannah.