On 4 November, a giraffe was born at Basel Zoo, which had been waiting for the birth for several days. Everyone is delighted to see that the mother, Sophie, and Rohaya are both doing well.
The female calf was born to mother Sophie (9) in the antelope house in the late afternoon, at 4:34 p.m. Precisely one hour later Rohaya stood up on her long, wobbly legs for the first time. The baby’s father is Xamburu (11).
Sophie is an experienced mother. However, this birth at Basel Zoo required a bit of patience: almost three weeks passed between the first signs that Sophie was about to give birth and the actual arrival of the little one. At this point, things went quickly, and the little one slipped elegantly (as is usual for giraffes) from a height of two metres onto the bed of straw prepared by the zoo keeper.
The antelope house is currently being renovated, so visitors can only see the mother and child when they spend time outside. The house is scheduled to reopen in December. The giraffe group in the antelope house is now made up of five animals.
Endangered subspecies of giraffe
Basel Zoo has been keeping Kordofan giraffes since 2011. Unlike all other subspecies, Kordofan giraffes only have small, irregular spots on their inner legs. They are classified as critically endangered by the IUCN. There are only around 1,400 of these animals left in the wild, and their numbers are declining. Kordofan giraffes can be found in Chad, northern Cameroon, the Central African Republic and possibly also in western Sudan. Loss of habitat, wars and hunting have particularly affected their numbers, meaning that zoos play a very important role in maintaining genetically healthy populations.
Kordofan giraffes are rather rare in zoos: of a total of 394 zoos that record their data in the Zoological Information Management System (ZIMS), just 22 have this subspecies of giraffe. This means only 88 of the 2,029 giraffes kept by zoos are Kordofan giraffes. Every single new birth is vital in keeping zoo populations genetically healthy. Giraffes living in zoos provide an opportunity to show visitors that the creatures are increasingly rare in their natural habitat. There are only around 68,000 giraffes remaining in the whole of Africa.