The WIlds

The Wilds Celebrates Birth Of Giraffe Calf

Vert Giraffe Calf 7263 - Grahm S

The Wilds is proud to announce the birth of a male Masai Giraffe calf on July 10. Guests taking an Open-Air Safari Tour witnessed the birth in the open pasture at The Wilds, creating an unforgettable experience. So far, the calf appears strong and healthy, staying close to his mother. The Giraffe care team monitors mom and baby as they make their daily rounds.

Giraffe Calf 7015 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Giraffe Calf 7303 - Grahm S. Jones  Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit: Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium

The calf’s father, Raha, was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in April 2006, and the calf’s mother, Lulu, was born at Cincinnati Zoo in October 2012. This calf is Lulu’s first, and he was born after a gestation period of about 15 months. Like all Giraffe births, Lulu delivered her calf while standing up. Within a few hours of his birth, the calf stood, nursed, and began walking.

The breeding of Raha and Lulu was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program designed to increase the genetic health and diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care.

“Welcoming a Giraffe calf to our herd is always an incredibly exciting time for our team,” said The Wilds Vice President Dr. Jan Ramer. “Not only is this birth a milestone here at The Wilds, but it also gives us great hope and a foothold to sustain declining populations of this species in their native ranges.”

Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, due to habitat degradation and poaching. In an effort to reduce threats to Giraffes, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds support several conservation projects in Giraffe range countries across Africa, including the Serengeti Giraffe Project based in Tanzania, the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust in Kenya, and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and Uganda.

Male Giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are 13 to 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animals and are the largest ruminants. Their native ranges are savannas, grasslands or open woodlands in central and southern African countries.

See more photos of the calf below.

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Endangered Painted Dog Pups Explore Their Exhibit

1_African Painted Dogs 7590 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

A litter of six endangered Painted Dog puppies were born at The Wilds in December. After being cared for exclusively by their mother and the other pack members, the pups have now begun exploring the publicly visible areas of The Wilds property.

“The Wilds has managed Painted Dogs for years, but this is our first successful litter,” said Dan Beetem, Director of Animal management at The Wilds. “Even though we assembled a new pack last year in order to provide the younger dogs with the greatest opportunity to breed, we remained cautiously optimistic. Young mothers are often not successful with their first, or even second, litter. But Quinn, a first-time mom, surprised us by being an attentive caregiver from the start.”

2_African Painted Dogs 7660 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

3_African Painted Dogs 7609 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

4_African Painted Dogs 7618 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credits: Grahm S. Jones / Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

Painted Dogs (Lycaon pictus), also known as African Wild Dogs, are one of Africa’s most endangered species. These dogs have disappeared from much of their former range throughout sub-Saharan Africa, and their populations are continuing to decline; researchers estimate that only about 6,600 Painted Dogs are left in their native regions. Challenges with humans are the main threats to their survival, and the Painted Dog populations have declined due to continued habitat fragmentation, conflict with human activities, and infectious disease, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN).

Operated by the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and located in Cumberland, Ohio, The Wilds is one of the country’s largest conservation centers helping to protect this species’ future by participating in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP) program, which is coordinated to increase genetic diversity and population sustainability of threatened and endangered species in managed care.

Additionally, the Zoo’s conservation fund has supported 10 wild dog conservation projects in six countries: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, South Africa, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. These grants cover training scouts in protected areas, educating children in local communities, recording populations in native regions, developing conservation corridors, reducing human conflict, and developing an effective rabies vaccine.

“At The Wilds, we are in a unique position to preserve some of the planet’s most amazing and most endangered animals,” The Wilds Vice President Rick Dietz said. “We are overjoyed and honored to welcome a new generation of African Painted Dogs, which could easily go extinct in our lifetimes if we don’t cooperate to save these animals.”

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Baby Rhino Snuggles With Mom at The Wilds

Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 0012 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
A Greater One-horned Rhino – a species that nearly went extinct in the 20th century – was born at the Wilds conservation center on November 11. This is the seventh Greater One-horned Rhino to be born at the Wilds

The calf and his mom, Sanya, are doing well and have been bonding in the barn on the Wilds property. The animal care team has been monitoring the pair closely, but has not needed to provide any immediate assistance to the experienced mother. Calves usually weigh more than 100 pounds at birth and gain a few pounds every day. An adult Greater One-horned Rhino can weigh 4,000 to 6,000 pounds.   

Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 0046 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and Aquarium
Rhino (Greater One-Horned) Calf 9983 - Grahm S. Jones, Columbus Zoo and AquariumPhoto Credit:  Grahm S. Jones/Columbus Zoo & Aquarium



“Rhino conservation has come a long way in the past 100 years, but there is still work to be done,” said Daniel Beetem, director of animal management at the Wilds. “Rhinos continue to be poached for the misconception that their horns have medicinal value, when the horns are the chemical equivalent of human fingernails. Rhinos also face the imminent danger of declining habitat quality. We are proud to help keep this incredible species alive through our breeding program at the Wilds.”   

Sanya, born in Toronto in 1999, has now given birth to four calves since arriving at the Wilds in 2004. The father, Rustum, was born at a zoo in India and imported to the United States in 2007 to bring genetic diversity to the Species Survival Plan (SSP), a program coordinated by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). This newborn is Rustum’s fifth offspring. 

The Wilds, home to four Greater One-horned Rhinos, is one of only 26 facilities in North America to care for this species. The Wilds is also home to 13 southern white Rhinos. In total, more than 500 animals representing 29 species from around the world make up the animal population at the open-range, natural landscape at the Wilds.  

Once listed as an endangered species, the Greater One-horned Rhino have seen a steady population increase thanks to strict government protection. According to the World Wildlife Fund, there were only 600 individuals surviving in their native ranges of India and Nepal by 1975. Since then, researchers estimate the population has grown to exceed 3,000 Greater One-horned Rhinos living in these areas.  

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