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Care Team Supports First Time Giraffe Mom

A female giraffe calf was born in Schönbrunn Zoo on Sunday afternoon. Great concern quickly mixed with the joy: the first-time mother Fleur has been reluctant to let her offspring drink. “The birth went quickly and without complications, which is anything but a matter of course. Unfortunately, Fleur still keeps her young animal at a distance and only nurses it very irregularly," explains Eveline Dungl, the responsible zoological department head. “For Fleur it is the first offspring. Unfortunately, inexperienced mothers often find themselves overwhelmed with rearing in the wild. Unfortunately, especially with first-time mothers, there is never a guarantee that everything will go well from the start.”

The primary goal at Schönbrunn Zoo is to enable the animals to be reared naturally by their parents. Since Sunday, the herd of giraffes has been observed by the team around the clock and their behavior analyzed. Zoo director Stephan Hering-Hagenbeck: "After intensive consultations with all our experts, we decided to leave the young animal in the social group of the herd and to feed it. Of course, certain risks cannot be ruled out. However, as long as the young animal is not yet able to drink from its mother regularly, this is the most promising solution.”

The female, still nameless giraffe cub was around 1.70 meters tall at birth. The last giraffe offspring in the Tiergarten was almost 10 years ago. The giraffe park was then renovated and reopened in 2017 with the reticulated giraffes Fleur and Sofie. In 2019, Obi, the cub's father, moved in. It is important now to give the young, inexperienced herd plenty of rest and time. The animals should get used to the new situation and be able to make this important experience together. Therefore, the giraffe park will remain closed until further notice.