Giraffe

Zoo Marks Third Giraffe Calf in Three Years

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The Milwaukee County Zoo proudly announced details of a Reticulated Giraffe birth on July 13. The new youngster marks the third giraffe calf born at the Zoo in the last three years.

The male was born to mom, Ziggy, and dad, Bahatika (also known as Baha). This is Ziggy and Baha’s third calf together; Tafari was born in 2015, and Kazi was born in 2017. This newest calf has been named Desmond.

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Zoo veterinarians completed Desmond’s first exam, and they recorded an initial weight of about 152 pounds and a height of approximately 5 feet 7 inches tall.

It was reported that the calf got his balance quickly after birth, seemed very strong, and was able to stand up within 55 minutes of birth. Ziggy was also said to be an attentive mother.

Ziggy is 9-years-old, and arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo in 2013 from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Bahatika is 14-years-old, and arrived at MCZ in 2006 from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

The Zoo currently houses seven giraffes: adults Bahatika, Marlee, Ziggy, Rahna; youngsters Kazi and Maya; and the newborn.

Giraffes are the tallest land animals, and are typically between 14-19 feet tall and weigh between 1,750-2,800 pounds. Giraffes use their long necks to reach leaves and buds in trees that other herbivores can’t reach.

Of the nine subspecies of giraffes, two are considered endangered: the Reticulated and the Masai.

In the wild, the Reticulated Giraffe population has dropped by 80 percent in the last decade and the Masai Giraffe population has dropped by nearly 50 percent in the last three decades. However, all giraffe populations are declining, with hunting and habitat loss as the major threats. Due to their current status, every giraffe birth is very important for the population.


New Giraffe at Zoo Miami Makes Her Debut

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Zoo Miami's newest baby Giraffe recently made her exhibit debut!

The female calf, which was born on July 22, walked out onto the exhibit with her mother and other members of the herd, curiously exploring her new surroundings. The newborn had been held inside a holding area with her mother to give them time to bond and to allow staff to slowly introduce her to the herd.

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Shortly after birth, she received a neonatal exam where, in addition to a general physical, she was weighed, had her blood collected and received a microchip for identification. She weighed in at 149 pounds and is the fourth baby born to Sabra, her nearly 9-year-old mother. The father is a 6-year-old named Titan. This is the 56th Giraffe born in the zoo's history!

Giraffe have a pregnancy of approximately 15 months, and the mother rarely, if ever, lies down while giving birth. The baby falls about 4-6 feet to the floor where it receives quite an abrupt introduction to the world! Newborns stand nearly 6 feet tall at birth.

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

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Baby Giraffe Ditches His Corrective Shoes

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Baby Giraffe Hasani was born with rear leg abnormalities that prompted Woodland Park Zoo staff to fit him with custom-made shoes to improve his condition.  A few weeks later, he upgraded to newer shoes and went outdoors for the first time.

Now, his legs have improved and he no longer needs corrective shoes. He still wears kinesiology tape to stimulate and stabilize his leg muscles.

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61381532_10157606871717708_5661963096059543552_nPhoto Credit: J. Laughlin/Woodland Park Zoo

Immediately after Hasani’s birth on May 2, the zoo’s animal health team noticed each rear foot was not in normal alignment. The condition, known as hyperextended fetlocks, is well documented in horses and has been reported to occur in Giraffes. One day after the Giraffe was born, the zoo’s animal health team applied casts on both rear legs to help stabilize his limbs. 

The zoo’s veterinary team consulted with a Kentucky-based equine veterinarian who specializes in foot conditions. He visited the zoo to evaluate the calf, and crafted new custom shoes based on the zoo’s specifications and a modified design he has used to successfully treat numerous foals with the same condition.

After a few weeks, one of the shoes dropped off and Hasani appeared to be walking well without it so the staff did not intervene. Later that week, the veterinary staff removed the other shoe and cast material. “We’re pleased to report there is marked improvement in both rear limbs. Hasani’s walking well and continues to readily stand and lie down. He remains active like a calf his age should. We will continue to closely observe his gait, foot position, any limb and foot changes, energy and nursing,” says Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian. 

The baby Giraffe continues to wear kinesiology tape to help stimulate and support his leg muscles. “If his condition regresses, we’re prepared to outfit him with another pair of shoes but we’re optimistic we won’t have to. So far he’s showing remarkable progress,” adds Storms. 

Hasani made his debut to zoo visitors a couple weeks ago. Since then, he has been introduced to Tufani, his aunt and Dave, his dad. Hasani remains curious and active, according to his care team.

Hasani's 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. Woodland Park Zoo participates in 111 Species Survival Plans, overseen by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums.

Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New population surveys estimate an overall 40 percent decline in the Giraffe population; fewer than 100,000 exist today. Of the currently recognized subspecies of Giraffe, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable. 

See more photos of Hasani below.

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Masai Giraffe Calf Is Latest Arrival At Virginia Zoo

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The Virginia Zoo welcomed a 141-pound, six-foot-tall female Masai Giraffe calf on May 20, 2019. This is the sixth calf to be born to mom Imara and seventh for dad Billy.

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Virginia Zoo Photo 1Photo Credit: Virginia Zoo

The calf was standing within two hours of birth and has been observed by Animal Care Staff nursing from Imara. The experienced mom is taking great care of the newborn, and the two have been spending time together indoors, with optional access to an outdoor yard.  It’s important for mom and baby to bond during the calf's first few weeks of life.

Billy and the Zoo’s other adult female, Noelle, are very interested in the new arrival.

As of press time, the calf does not yet have a name. The naming rights were auctioned off for $5,000 at the Virginia Zoo’s annual fundraiser on June 1. Watch the Virginia Zoo’s social media feeds for an announcement of the name next week.

Masai Giraffe are the largest subspecies of Giraffe and the tallest land mammals on Earth. They are native to Kenya and Tanzania and are characterized by their jagged spots. Males reach heights of up to 18 feet tall and females grow to 14 feet tall. Giraffes may bear one offspring after a 15-month gestation period. When a Giraffe baby is born, it comes into the world front feet first, followed by the head, neck, and shoulders. Newborn Giraffes can stand and walk within one hour of birth. They begin to eat leaves at the age of four months but continue to nurse until they are six to nine months old.

Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. Their population has fallen by about 40% across Africa and the species is no longer found in many parts of its historic range.


Last of Duke’s Legacy Born at Jacksonville Zoo

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The baby boom continues at the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens with the birth of a second Reticulated Giraffe calf in the early hours of May 19. The male was born to Luna. The calf is also the second son fathered by the late Duke, who passed-away in December. He joins a half-brother who was born just four days prior.

Keepers were anticipating the birth of the young giraffe, knowing Luna was close to her due date. She was in the birthing suite when she delivered the petite, but healthy, calf at 4:10 a.m. Birth-camera footage shows the calf standing soon after birth, and keepers are pleased to see healthy nursing.

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After the birth, veterinary staff preformed a neonatal exam on the young calf, giving him a visual inspection and his first round of vaccinations. The calf is only 5’9” tall and weighs 119 lbs. As a contrast, his half-brother, born last week to mother Naomi, is the tallest giraffe in the JZG herd at 6’4” and 187 lbs!

These two newborn boys will be the last of Duke’s offspring, and they will be the last giraffe births at the Zoo until a new bull giraffe can join the herd. Population management decisions will be made with the help of the Species Survival Plan, expert advisors who work together to maximize genetic diversity and sustainability of the animals in zoos across the globe.

More pics below the fold!

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New Giraffe Calf Honors His Father’s Legacy

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The Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens welcomed an exciting addition to the Reticulated Giraffe herd on May 15. The Zoo’s 42nd giraffe calf was born to mother, Naomi.

Many visitors of Jacksonville Zoo will remember that the patriarch of their giraffe herd, Duke, passed away in December 2018 at 21-years-old from age-related degenerative disease. At the time of his death, keepers were hoping that one or two of the females in the herd were pregnant…and they were! The birth of this youngster is a touching tribute to the high-profile bull that was so well known by the Jacksonville community. This special calf is Duke’s 18th offspring.

“The arrival of our beloved Duke’s son is an especially moving way to honor his amazing legacy. We’re all looking forward to watching this little guy grow and develop,” shared Dan Maloney, Deputy Zoo Director.

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On the day of the calf’s birth, keepers monitoring the overnight cameras noticed birth activity around 4:30am, so they rushed to the Zoo to supervise the significant birth and make sure everything progressed smoothly. Zoo staff were also watching when the calf stood up for the first time at 6:20am. Their excitement continued when they saw healthy nursing behavior at 7:11am. According to keepers, Naomi is a calm and experienced mother, with this being her 7th calf.

Veterinary staff examined the calf soon after the birth and determined it to be a boy in good health. He weighed in at 187 lbs. and was nearly 6’4” tall.

Naomi and the calf were allowed to bond behind the scenes after the birth, but they are now on exhibit with the rest of their herd.

More incredible photos, below the fold!

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Baby Giraffe Goes Outside And Shows Off New Shoes

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A baby Giraffe born May 2 at Woodland Park Zoo reached three milestones in the past two weeks: he was given a name, got new shoes, and went outdoors for the first time.

The little Giraffe will be called Hasani, after his paternal grandfather. The name was chosen by zoo staff for this handsome calf who has already stolen hearts across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Then, on May 17, Hasani went outdoors for the first time to show off custom-made therapeutic shoes designed to correct a foot problem.

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2019_05_12 giraffe new shoes metal-3Photo Credit: Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren/Woodland Park Zoo

Immediately after female Giraffe Olivia gave birth to her calf, the zoo’s animal health team noticed that the baby’s rear feet were not in normal alignment. The condition, known as hyperextended fetlocks, is well documented in Horses and has been reported to occur in Giraffes. One day after the Giraffe was born, the zoo’s animal health team applied casts on both rear legs to help stabilize his limbs. 

A week after the calf's birth, Woodland Park Zoo’s exhibits team constructed temporary therapeutic shoes for the baby Giraffe. Meanwhile, the zoo’s veterinary team consulted with a Kentucky-based equine veterinarian who specializes in foot conditions. He visited the zoo to evaluate the calf, and crafted new custom shoes based on the zoo’s specifications. He modified a design that he has used to successfully treat numerous foals with the same condition. The shoes will do the heavy lifting in the next phase of treatment of the baby’s rear leg abnormalities. Huge thanks to Dr. Scott Morrison and Manuel Cruz of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital for their support and expertise with this shoe design. 

The new shoes are made of metal with a textured bottom for extra grip. An acrylic molding wraps around to secure the shoe to the hoof. “This whole-toe wrap binds the toes more snugly to stabilize the shoe and provide a stronger grip to the hoof,” says Dr. Tim Storms, associate veterinarian at Woodland Park Zoo. The shoes are more water-resistant than the previously made wooden shoes. “This will be better for walking outdoors on wet ground and will allow him to exercise more, which is critical to his development.” 

Kinesiology tape – often used by runners and athletes – helps to stimulate and support Hasani’s muscles and replaces the bandages that were put on his legs right after birth.

Hasani’s treatment may last several months. “While we are happy with Hasani’s response so far and these new shoes, he’s not out of the woods yet. His condition is still guarded and we’re keeping him under close observation. We’ll continue assessing the best course of action to help him walk and grow normally, and to find a good balance between supporting his limbs and strengthening his tendons,” adds Storms. 

Other than the abnormalities in his rear legs, Hasani remains in good health and is nursing and bonding with mom. He weighed 155 pounds at birth and now weighs 180 pounds, so he is growing and growing!

Giraffes are widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa. New population surveys estimate an overall 40 percent decline in the Giraffe population; fewer than 100,000 exist today. Of the currently recognized subspecies of Giraffe, five have decreasing populations, while three are increasing and one is stable. 




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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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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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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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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