Taronga Western Plains Zoo has been delivered a tall order with two giraffe calves born into the breeding herd just one day apart early last week. The two new additions join 16- and 11week-old giraffe calves, Matata and Wayo, bringing the breeding herd size up to an incredible 13 individuals.
“The newcomers are a very welcome addition in an unbelievable breeding season with four calves born in the last four months,” said Giraffe Keeper Glyn Avery.
On the morning of Tuesday 4 October, Giraffe keepers were greeted with a delightful surprise when they arrived to start the day and spotted the third calf born into the breeding herd this year. The calf was standing on wobbly legs in the grass paddock, bathing in the morning sun, and suckling from experienced mother, Mvita.
The fourth calf was born the very next day in front of delighted guests at midday on Wednesday 5 October. Four-year-old cow, Niyah, started having contractions just prior to the 10am Giraffe Encounter, with the front hooves of the calf soon making an appearance. Many delighted school holiday visitors from across the states braved the rain over the next few hours to witness the once-in-a-life-time experience.
“Whilst our giraffe breeding program has bred over 50 calves in the history of the program, it is a very rare sight for both keepers and guests alike to witness a birth from start to finish. Giraffes mostly give birth overnight or in the very early hours of the day, especially during heightened weather events, so this birth has been particularly special for all,” said Glyn.
Zoo guests not only witnessed the birth of the adorable calf, but also when the herd made their first greetings to the little newcomer and found its feet.
“It is such a humbling experience to witness the birth of our world’s tallest mammal,” said Zoo Director Steve Hinks, who joined guests in the rain to observe the incredible birth.
Guests to Taronga Western Plains Zoo can see Giraffe and learn more about the plight of these gentle giants and their conservation status at the daily Giraffe Encounter at 10am or by hopping on a Savannah Safari Truck Tour.
Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade due to habitat encroachment, snares, civil unrest, and poaching. The wild population is estimated at less than 117,000, a decline of 40% over 30 years. Taronga supports giraffe conservation through in-situ community conservation programs, such as the Northern Rangelands Trust in Kenya, who improve wildlife security through anti-poaching units and providing alternative sources of income for local communities.
Visitors to Taronga Western Plains Zoo can make a difference for the giraffe, elephants and endangered African Wild Dogs of Northern Kenya, simply by visiting, staying overnight, buying a gift or encounter. Taronga is not-for-profit, so every dollar you spend has the power to protect and helps save wildlife.