Giraffe

Chester Zoo’s New Giraffe Calf is a 'Rare' Beauty

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The dramatic moment a rare giraffe entered the world was recently caught on camera at Chester Zoo.

Orla, a highly endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe, gave birth to the six-foot-tall female calf on May 8 after a two-and-half-hour labour (and 477 days gestation).

She has been named ‘Karamoja’. Keepers dedicated the new calf’s name to the people of Karamoja in Uganda, Africa. Karamoja is the region in Uganda where the zoo’s conservationists are working alongside The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA), to protect some of the last remaining populations of wild Rothschild’s Giraffes in Kidepo Valley National Park.

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3_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (8)

4_Look who just dropped in! Cameras capture the incredible moment a rare giraffe calf is born at Chester Zoo  (2)Photo Credits: Chester Zoo

The new birth – the second at the zoo in the space of just eight weeks - is another important boost for the global breeding programme for the endangered animals, with the wild population standing at just 2,650.

Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo, said, “When you’re the world’s tallest land mammal, your entry into the world is a long one… and not always very graceful. But since giraffes give birth standing up, a calf starts off its life with a drop of up to two meters to the ground. This fall breaks the umbilical cord helps to stimulate its first breath.”

“Following the birth, Orla’s calf was then on its feet within 30 minutes – and is already towering above most of the keepers at nearly six feet tall. It’s so far looking strong and healthy and is another special new arrival, coming hot on the hooves of Mburo who was born just eight weeks ago,” Roffe continued.

“Mburo was clearly highly interested in the new thing that had landed near to him. Seeing the two young calves together is wonderful.”

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‘King’ Among Giants Born at Whipsnade Zoo

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Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are still celebrating the recent birth of a giant.

A Reticulated Giraffe was born to first time mum, Luna, and dad, Bashu, on April 26. The new male calf has been named Khari, which means ‘King-like’ in Swahili, because of his regal-looking ossicones - the tiny crown-like horns on a Giraffe’s head.

Born as part of the European Breeding Programme (EEP) for the Endangered species, the adorable calf already stands head and shoulders above most of the residents at the UK’s largest zoo – hovering at almost six-feet tall.

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4_Newborn giraffe at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo (c) ZSL (9)Photo Credits: Zoological Society of London

ZSL team leader, Mark Holden, explained, “First-time mum Luna is doing a sterling job of looking after Khari - positively doting on her new arrival, while feeding and cleaning him regularly.”

“However, the birth was definitely a family affair; Dad Bashu was rubbing Luna’s neck encouragingly during her four-hour labour, while grandmother Ijuma helped to clean the youngster after the birth - and they’ve all since continued to be very involved in Khari’s care.”

Giraffe calves weigh more than the twenty times the average 7 lb. human when they’re born, weighing in at around 150 lbs. at birth.

Giraffes also give birth standing up, meaning their calves make an epic entrance into the world: falling six feet, hooves first to the ground, before learning to walk within an hour.

"Khari is a very confident calf, just like his father, Bashu, and is very inquisitive about his new surroundings…tottering around the Giraffe House exploring every inch of his new home.”

“Under his parents’ watchful gaze, Khari has even started to tentatively venture outside, so lucky visitors should be able to spot him stretching his legs…!”

The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males reach a towering 19 feet tall and weigh between 2400 and 4250 pounds. Females measure up to 17 feet tall and weigh between 1540 and 2600 pounds.

Giraffes have the same number of bones in the neck as humans – seven. Valves in their neck prevent blood rushing to the head when they bend down to drink. Babies stand at about two meters at birth - their horns lie flat at birth and pop up several days later.

Giraffes eat mainly acacia leaves but also shoots, fruits and other vegetation.

In the wild, Reticulated Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata) are confined to northeastern Kenya, eastern Sudan and Eritrea. Reticulated Giraffes are the most distinctively patterned of the eight subspecies of Giraffe. Their coat has brown, regular, box-like patterns (called a reticulated pattern). White spaces between the patches form narrow lines. This elaborate pattern is good camouflage in dense, dry vegetation.


Woodland Park Zoo’s Giraffe Calf Gets Custom Shoes

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Woodland Park Zoo’s male Giraffe calf has been outfitted with custom-made therapeutic shoes in the next phase of treatment for his rear leg abnormalities.

The calf was born on May 2 to mom Olivia. Hours after his birth, the zoo’s animal health team radiographed his rear legs after noticing each rear foot was not in normal alignment.

“The condition is known as hyperextended fetlocks. It is well documented in horses and has been reported to occur in Giraffes,” said Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo.

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4_2019_05_02 baby giraffe-2Photo Credits: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

One day after the Giraffe was born, the zoo’s animal health team applied casts on both rear legs to help stabilize his limbs.

After consultations of medical literature and colleagues at other zoos, the zoo’s exhibits team was called in to help. The talented team of exhibit artists specially crafted two-piece shoes made of high-density polyethylene and plywood with grooves for better adhesion to the foot and for better traction.

“At this stage, the new therapeutic shoes are on a trial basis, but I’m hopeful that they will help him walk better. We’ll continue refining and improving our approach to find a good balance between supporting his limbs and strengthening his tendons,” said Storms. “We’re so very grateful to our in-house exhibits team for jumping in to help our baby Giraffe. We’re very touched by their eagerness to lend their expertise to caring for this new life. It’s been all hands on deck for our baby.”

Treatment will most likely span over several months. “While our baby Giraffe is healthy and continues nursing and bonding with mom, he remains in guarded condition and under close observation. As we move forward with his treatment, we’ll continue assessing the best course of action to help him walk and grow normally,” added Storms.

During the veterinary procedure, the baby weighed in at 170.5 pounds, up from a birth weight of 155 pounds. Mom and her baby remain off view, in the barn, for an indefinite period to allow continued maternal bonding and nursing in a cozy, private setting.

The yet-unnamed baby was born to mom, Olivia, and dad, Dave. This is the first offspring between the 12-year-old mom and 6-year-old dad; Olivia had her first baby in 2013 at Woodland Park Zoo with a different mate.

The last Giraffe birth at Woodland Park Zoo was a female, Lulu, born in 2017 to mom, Tufani (Olivia’s younger sister) and dad, Dave. In addition to the baby, Olivia, Dave and Tufani make up the current herd of Giraffes at the zoo.

The parents, Olivia and Dave, were paired under a breeding recommendation made by the Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a cooperative, conservation breeding program across accredited zoos to help ensure a healthy, self-sustaining population of Giraffes.  

Viewers can see updates about the new calf by visiting www.zoo.org/giraffe and by following the zoo’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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Cleveland Zoo Welcomes 101-pound Baby

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A male Masai Giraffe calf weighing 101 pounds was born on April 15 at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.

The calf’s parents are mom Jada and dad Bo. Bo came to the zoo in 2017 and this is the first calf he sired since his arrival. Bo is the tallest Giraffe in the zoo’s herd, standing nearly 17 feet tall. His offspring stood nearly six feet tall at birth. The newborn’s height and weight are impressive, but he is actually smaller than the typical newborn male. Some can weigh up to 150 pounds at birth. Therefore, the staff is monitoring the calf closely, although there are no problems so far.

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Photo Credit: Cleveland Metroparks Zoo

The calf has not yet been named. The zoo plans to announce a naming contest in a few weeks.

The calf will soon join his parents and the rest of the herd in the zoo’s Giraffe exhibit. Zoo guests can hand-feed the Giraffes from an elevated platform.

Wild Giraffes in Africa are in decline, with populations dropping 40% in the last 15 years to a current total of 80,000 individuals.  Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Cleveland Metroparks Zoo’s Future for Wildlife Fund helps protect giraffes by addressing poaching and illegal snaring, translocating animals to secure endangered populations, and also conducting studies on population and disease.


Female Giraffe Born on First Day of Spring

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In the early morning hours of the first day of spring, March 20, The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens welcomed a female Giraffe calf to the herd. Born to mother, Dadisi, and father, Hesabu, the female calf weighed in at 149.6 pounds (68kg) and stood at 6 feet 1 inch tall.

“We are thrilled to share the news of this new addition. Mother and calf are doing very well and are currently bonding behind-the-scenes,” said Allen Monroe, President/CEO of The Living Desert. “Guests will have the opportunity to see mother and calf in the near future and I know they will be delighted when they see the pair.”

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3_BABYGIRAFFE_THELIVINGDESERT(4)Photo Credits: The Living Desert Zoo & Gardens

This is the eighth calf for mom, Dadisi, who is 18 years old and has lived at The Living Desert since 2002. This is her third female calf. Dadisi is also mom to 18-month-old, Shellie Muujiza. This is the tenth calf for father, Hesabu, who passed away in December of 2018 after a rapid decline in his health. The Living Desert Zoo and Gardens, in Palm Desert, CA, is home to a herd of nine Giraffe: five males and four females.

“The Living Desert fondly remembers Hesabu with the birth of this calf,” said RoxAnna Breitigan, Director of Animal Care at The Living Desert. “Hesabu’s legacy will continue to live on through his offspring, helping to build connections with our guests and fostering appreciation for the natural world.”

“Dadisi and her calf have bonded and are doing very well. The well-baby exam showed that all her vitals are within the normal range and she is progressing as expected,” said Dr. Andrea Goodnight, Head Veterinarian at The Living Desert. “She is tall, healthy and absolutely adorable.”

Giraffe gestation is about 15 months. The calf will nurse for nine to 12 months, and begin eating foliage around two months old. The Giraffe will double her size in the first year of her life. Giraffe have their own individual spot-like markings and no two have the same pattern, similar to humans’ unique fingerprints.

Currently listed by the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) as “Vulnerable”, Giraffe populations have declined up to 40% over the last 30 years. There are fewer than 98,000 Giraffe in the wild. Native to southern and eastern Africa, major threats to their population is habitat loss and fragmentation, civil unrest, and ecological changes.


Birth of Giraffe Caught on Camera at Chester Zoo

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Zookeepers at Chester Zoo have released CCTV footage showing the incredible birth of an endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe – as well as his adorable first steps!

The leggy new arrival was born March 5 to twelve-year-old mum, Dagmar, and eight-year-old dad, Meru.

Giraffe experts at the Zoo monitored the three-and-half-hour labour live on camera as Dagmar dropped her new calf six feet to the floor, landing on a bed of soft straw.

The healthy male youngster, who is yet to be named, was then up on his feet and suckling for the first time just over an hour later.

Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at Chester Zoo, said, “When a Giraffe mum drops her calf to the floor it can look a little dramatic – but it’s not such a long drop when the baby is six foot tall. Nevertheless, to see the birth and the very first steps of an animal as rare of the Rothschild’s Giraffe is an incredibly special thing.”

Roffe continued, “Dagmar is so far being the model mum. She’s staying close to her calf and letting him suckle, which of course is vital in these early few days. The milk is filled with important nutrients like colostrum, which will help the little one to grow and reinforce an inseparable bond between mum and baby.”

“This new arrival is a special addition to the international breeding programme for this endangered species, which is working to boost numbers in zoos and safeguard its future.”

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Rothschild’s Giraffes are highly threatened in the wild and have suffered a 90% decline in numbers in recent decades, making them one of the world’s most at-risk mammals. Estimates indicate that fewer than 2,650 now remain across Africa.

Conservationists from the zoo are currently working in Uganda as part of a vital project to protect Rothschild’s Giraffes in the wild. The team – working with partners The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Uganda Wildlife Foundation (UWA) – are fighting to protect the last remaining wild populations of Rothchild’s Giraffes.

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Dynamic Giraffe Duo Debuts at Zoo Miami

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Zoo Miami's newest baby Giraffes recently made their exhibit debut!

For the first time, the handsome male that was born on February 13th and the lovely female that was born on February 20th, walked out onto the exhibit with their mothers and other members of the herd. The soon-to-be-named young duo curiously explored their new surroundings.

The two newborns had been held inside a holding area, with their mothers, to give them time to bond and to allow staff to slowly introduce them to the herd.

The male weighed 123 pounds and is the first baby born to his four-year-old mom, Zuri. The female weighed 161 pounds and is the sixth baby born to 12-year-old mom, Mia. The father to both calves is six-year-old Titan, who has since left Zoo Miami to join another herd at Busch Gardens in Tampa.

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4_1Photo Credits: Ron Magill/ Zoo Miami   (For identification purposes: the baby with the dark thick, tufted horns is the female, and the adult giraffe with her in any photo is her mother, Mia. The lighter colored baby is the male, and the adult seen with him is his mother, Zuri.)

Giraffes have a gestation period of approximately 15 months and a mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor, where it receives quite an impactful introduction to the world! Newborns usually weigh more than a hundred pounds at birth and stand nearly 6 feet tall!

Due to significant reductions in their populations over the last several years, the status of Giraffes in the wild has recently been elevated from “Least Concern” to “Vulnerable” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

More amazing photos below the fold!

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Brevard Zoo Welcomes Masai Giraffe Calf

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Brevard Zoo welcomed a newborn Masai Giraffe on October 19. The little one, a male, was born six feet tall and weighed 158 pounds.

The as-yet-unnamed calf arrived around 5:15 a.m., entering the world feet-first. He is the ninth offspring of 18-year-old mother, Johari, and the twelfth sired by 20-year-old Rafiki.

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“The newborn Giraffe underwent a neonatal exam, where we checked his overall health,” said Michelle Smurl, the Zoo’s director of animal programs. “He looked to be in great condition at his checkup on Saturday.”

The calf will remain behind the scenes with Johari for a few weeks before making his first appearance in Expedition Africa.

Eight of the Zoo’s nine Giraffe belong to the Masai subspecies, which is native to Tanzania and southern Kenya. Habitat loss, poaching and civil unrest pose the most significant threats to Giraffe in their natural habitat.


Baby Giraffe At Virginia Zoo Gets Supportive Care

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The Virginia Zoo welcomed a male Masai Giraffe calf on October 13, 2018. This is the first baby for mom Noelle, who is five years old, and the sixth calf for dad Billy.

Noelle gave birth during the early morning hours in her indoor enclosure. Zoo keepers had been monitoring Noelle throughout her pregnancy, and in preparation for the calf’s impending birth, extra bedding was added to her stall to soften the calf’s delivery (Giraffes give birth standing up).

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Virginia Zoo Photo2
Virginia Zoo Photo2Photo Credit: Virginia Zoo

Within an hour or two of birth, most Giraffe calves can stand, walk, and nurse on their own. However, this calf got an unusually slow start, which caused concern among the staff. Though the calf did finally stand and walk a few hours after birth, he was not observed to nurse in the first 24 hours after his arrival. After Veterinary and Animal Care Staff assessed the situation and consulted with Giraffe experts at other zoos, they decided to temporarily separate mom and baby and begin supportive care, which included a regimen of antibiotics and intravenous fluids.

The calf’s neck was shaved to accommodate his medical procedures.  At birth, the calf weighed 123 pounds, and stands just under 6 feet tall. He has not yet been named.

Zoo staff have monitored the calf around the clock since his birth and continue to provide supportive care and supplemental feedings. They report that the calf appears to be gaining strength. He spends time with his mother each day so the two can bond and to encourage nursing.

“We’re hopeful that the calf will continue to respond to treatment,” said Greg Bockheim, Executive Director of the Virginia Zoo. “I’m confident our staff is providing the best care for the newborn and we’ll just have to be patient with the process.”

Masai Giraffes are one of four species and five subspecies of Giraffe found in Africa. Male Giraffes can grow up to 18 feet tall and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 pounds. Females are between 13 and 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 pounds. Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

See more photos of the calf below.

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Kansas City Zoo Welcomes Second Giraffe Calf This Year

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Kansas City Zoo’s Masai Giraffe herd just got bigger! On Sunday, September 30, at 11:29 pm, six-year-old Makali gave birth to a male calf. The calf weighed 135 pounds and already stands 5 feet, 5 inches tall. A neonatal exam showed that the calf is in good health.

Right now, the calf is bonding with his mom behind the scenes, but fans can see him on the zoo’s Giraffe Cam.  He has not yet been named.

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The new calf already has a playmate: female calf Dixie is eight months old and is sure to become fast friends with this youngster.

The calf’s father is nine-year-old Hamisi, the only male in the zoo’s herd. Hamisi has fathered several calves at his previous zoo and this is his second calf at the Kansas City Zoo. He also fathered Dixie.

Masai Giraffe are one of nine Giraffe species and subspecies found in Africa. Masai Giraffes live primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, and number around 32,000 individuals. The overall Giraffe population in Africa is decreasing due to growing human population pressure and illegal hunting. Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.