Giraffe

Baby Giraffe Gets Help From Two Zoos

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A baby Reticulated Giraffe born February 28 at the Denver Zoo received a plasma transfusion as a precaution after he experienced difficulties in his first few days of life. 

Staff at the Denver Zoo did not know until recently that the calf’s mother, Kipele, was pregnant. When she delivered her calf, which keepers named Dobby, staff was on hand to monitor the birth and the baby’s progress.  Baby Giraffes normally begin nursing within a few hours of birth and receive important antibodies from colostrum, which is the nutrient-rich milk produced at the end of pregnancy. When the staff noticed that Dobby was not nursing and had trouble standing, they stepped in to feed the calf and provide critical care.

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Baby_giraffe-Dobby_01Photo Credit:  Denver Zoo

Dobby began nursing and seemed to gain strength with his supplemental feedings, but blood tests showed that Dobby did not receive enough infection-fighting proteins from his mother due to his difficulties with nursing. So veterinarians provided colostrum-replacer and a transfusion of plasma to boost Dobby’s immune system.

Giraffe plasma is not easy to obtain, but fortunately the nearby Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, where Kipele was born, was able to help.  Keepers there had done voluntary training with their Giraffes, which hold still for injections and small blood samples. Recently, they were able to collect larger volumes of blood in order to bank plasma for emergency situations just like this one.

The cooperation between the Denver Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo staff is just one example of the tremendous cooperation among zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.  Zoos work together to save animals – from entire species on the brink of extinction to individual animals like Dobby.

See more photos below!

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Maryland Zoo Announces Recent Birth of Giraffe Calf

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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore is thrilled to announce the birth of a female Reticulated Giraffe calf. Born on February 6, to four-year-old Juma and eleven-year-old Caesar, this new calf is the first giraffe to be born at the Zoo in over 20 years!

“We couldn’t be happier to welcome this beautiful calf to the Zoo family,” said Don Hutchinson, president/CEO of the Zoo. “She will bring a lot of excitement to the Giraffe House and make a wonderful addition to the herd.”

Juma went into labor at approximately 3:00 pm and the calf was born at 4:35 pm. “Standing is one of the first major milestones for a newborn giraffe, and she was able to fully stand on her own in just 50 minutes,” said Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager. “It’s safe to say that we were all silently cheering her on and were very excited to see her up on four legs.”

“Juma is an amazing mother! Her instincts are on target,” continued Cantwell. “She is very attentive and has been very patient with the calf as she learns to nurse. Mother and calf are bonding well and appear to be settling into their new routine with ease. All the other giraffes are curious about this new addition -- it’s fun to watch them watching the calf.”

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4_JFB1281Photo Credits: The Maryland Zoo

During her first veterinary exam, the calf was measured at 6’1” and weighed approximately 125 pounds. “Health-wise everything looks pretty perfect so far,” stated Samantha Sander, associate veterinarian. “All signs so far indicate we have a very healthy and strong female calf, and certainly an excellent mom.”

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New Giraffe Calf Is a ‘Momma’s Boy’

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Megara, a Kordofan Giraffe at Planckendael, became a first-time mom on January 19. The male calf fell to earth and stood at 1.75 meters tall (5.7 ft). According to keepers, Megara is an excellent mother and has been spending time bonding with her new calf in their warm stable.

The delivery took place at dawn, before the arrival of the keepers, but the birth was captured on the cameras installed in the birthing barn. A Giraffe birth is an extraordinary moment because the baby falls about two meters to the ground and then quickly straightens up on small, fragile legs.

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4_fotolink-girafs-6Photo Credits: Planckendael / Jonas Verhulst

This is the first major newborn of 2017 for Planckendael. This birth also marks the kick-off of giving out names that begin with the letter “S”. (Each year, all newborns at the Zoo are given names that begin with the same letter.) Planckendael will soon announce the new Giraffe’s name.

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Giraffe Calf is The "Best Christmas Gift"

2) Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating “the best Christmas gift they could have wished for” following the birth of a rare Rothschild’s giraffe calf (7)
A rare Rothschild’s Giraffe calf born on Boxing Day (December 26) at Chester Zoo has been described by keepers as “the best Christmas gift.” 

The six-foot-tall youngster, which is yet to be sexed or named, arrived to first time mother Tula at around 7:00 am and was up on its feet just minutes later.

Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating “the best Christmas gift they could have wished for” following the birth of a rare Rothschild’s giraffe calf (3)
1) Keepers at Chester Zoo are celebrating “the best Christmas gift they could have wished for” following the birth of a rare Rothschild’s giraffe calf (16)Photo Credit:  Chester Zoo

Rothschild’s Giraffes are one of the most endangered subspecies of Giraffe and one of the world’s most at-risk species. Recent estimates suggest that less than 1,600 individuals remain in the wild, primarily as a result of poaching and habitat loss.

Sarah Roffe, team manager of Giraffes at the zoo, said, “Rothschild’s Giraffes are highly endangered and so the arrival of a new calf is a major cause for celebration. It really is the best Christmas gift we could have ever have wished for."

The calf will remain with Tula but separated from the rest of the herd until the two bond with each other and the calf nurses regularly.

Chester Zoo staff point out the Rothschild’s Giraffes are experiencing a “silent extinction.”  In the last 45 years, the population of Rothschild’s Giraffes in Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park – where they were once found in large numbers – has reduced by over 90%. A huge part of this decline was due to poaching in the 1990s and since then the population has failed to bounce back as habitat loss continues to threaten their survival.

Rothschild’s Giraffes are classified as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  With less than 1,600 remaining in the wild,Rothschild’s Giraffes are more endangered than African Elephants or Giant Pandas.

Roughly one-third of the surviving population of Rothschild’s Giraffes live in zoos, where carefully coordinated breeding programs are creating a safety-net population for the species.

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Como Park Zoo Welcomes ‘Royal’ Giraffe Calf

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Como Park Zoo & Conservatory excitedly welcomed a new Reticulated Giraffe on November 10th. The male calf, named Prince, came into the world at 6’ 6” tall and weighed 160 pounds.

The new baby boy is the seventh calf born to mom, Daisy, and the 20th giraffe birth at Como Zoo in the last 22 years. Como’s current herd consists of Clover, Daisy, Skeeter (father) and Prince.

The honor of naming the new Giraffe was given to Como Friends supporters, Gretchen and David Crary, who have been the lead individual donors on ‘Give To The Max Day’ for the past three years.

15128811_10157807363450068_5059878667648259291_oPhoto Credits: Como Park Zoo/"Zookeeper Jill"

The Reticulated Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata), also known as the Somali Giraffe, is a subspecies of giraffe native to savannas of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Reticulated Giraffes can interbreed with other giraffe subspecies in captivity or if they come into contact with populations of other subspecies in the wild.

The Reticulated Giraffe is among the most well known of the nine giraffe subspecies. Together with the Rothschild Giraffe, it is the type most commonly seen in zoos. They are known to often walk around with birds on their backs. These birds are called tickbirds. The tickbirds eat bugs that live on the giraffe’s coat, and alert the animals to danger by chirping loudly.

A female has a gestation period of about 15 months and usually has only one young at a time, but a mature female can have around eight offspring in her lifetime. Females return to the same spot each year to give birth. The mother gives birth standing up and the calf falls seven feet to the ground. Calves can weigh up to 200 lbs. at birth and stand as tall as six feet. They are able to stand less than an hour after birth. The young are weaned at around one year of age.

In the wild, giraffes have few predators, but they are sometimes preyed upon by lions and less so by crocodiles and spotted hyenas. However, humans are a very real threat, and giraffes are often killed, by poachers, for their hair and skin. Currently, there are thought to be less than 80,000 giraffes roaming Africa, and some subspecies are thought to be almost completely gone, with fewer than 100 individuals. Reticulated Giraffes are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List.

Como Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). AZA is America’s leading accrediting organization for zoos and aquariums, and accredits only those institutions that have achieved rigorous, professional standards for animal welfare and management, veterinary care, wildlife conservation and research, education, safety, staffing and more. With only 200 accredited members, AZA is building North America’s largest wildlife conservation movement and is your link to helping animals in their native habitats.


Calf Strengthens Gene Pool of Endangered Giraffe

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BIOPARC Valencia recently announced the birth of a lovely female Rothschild’s Giraffe.

The healthy calf has been spending time bonding with mom, Bulería. Father Julius and the rest of the herd have also been introduced to the almost-one-month-old Giraffe.

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4_Cobijo interior de BIOPARC Valencia - Cría de jirafa Baringo recién nacida - noviembre 2016 (2)Photo Credits: BIOPARC Valencia

The Rothschild’s Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also known as the Baringo Giraffe, is one of the most threatened of the nine sub-species of giraffe. It is named after the Tring Museum’s founder, Walter Rothschild.

All individuals living in the wild are in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda.

The Rothschild’s Giraffe is at risk of hybridization and is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List, due to habitat destruction and poaching. Its geographic distribution includes central Kenya, northern Uganda and southern Sudan. According to latest figures, there are fewer than 1,500 individuals in the wild.

BIOPARC Valencia participates in the EEP (captive breeding program for endangered species), and this new breeding is involved in this important initiative to preserve biodiversity.

The Rothschild’s Giraffe is distinguishable from other subspecies because of its coloring. Where as the Reticulated Giraffe has very defined dark patches, with bright channels between, the Rothschild’s has paler, orange-brown patches that are less defined. Also, the Rothschild’s has no markings on the lower leg.

This subspecies mate any time of year and have a gestation period of 14 to 16 months, typically giving birth to a single calf. They prefer to live in small herds, with adult males and females only mixing for mating. Males are larger than females and tend to be darker in color.

According to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: “Current estimates of population size [of the Rothschild’s Giraffe] are well below 2,500 mature individuals, numbers are declining overall and no subpopulation is estimated to contain more than 250 mature individuals. The population is potentially close to meeting the population threshold for Critically Endangered under criterion C, depending on the number of individuals, if any, that survive in south Sudan.”


“It’s the Great Pumpkin…!”

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Pumpkins and Jack-o-Lanterns are indicative of the fall season…and Halloween.

Zoo Keepers work hard to keep their animals healthy and happy. Enrichment toys and activities are an important tool that Keepers utilize to help in that pursuit. Enrichment items encourage natural behavior and stimulate the senses…and what could be more stimulating, this time of year, than celebrating by tearing into a bright orange pumpkin!

Happy Halloween from ZooBorns!

2_Red pandas Jung and Nima get into the Halloween spirit at Chester Zoo on Pumpkin Day

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Image 1: (Lynx) Tierpark Hellabrunn / Marc Muller

Image 2: “Red Pandas, Jung and Nima, get into the Halloween spirit”/ Chester Zoo

Image 3: (Snow leopard) Woodland Park Zoo

Image 4: (Amur Tiger) Woburn Safari Park

Image 5: Piglets-in-a-pumpkin/ Tierpark Berlin

Image 6: “Andean Bear, Bernie, tucks into honey-coated treats”/ Chester Zoo

Image 7: “Black Jaguar, Goshi, enjoys and early treat”/ Chester Zoo

Images 8, 9: Elephant Pumpkin Stomp/ Denver Zoo

Image 10: (Chimpanzee)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 11: (Bison)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 12: (Giraffe “Mpenzi”)/ Detroit Zoo/ Jennie Miller

Image 13: (Hippo)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 14: (Tiger)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

Image 15: (Maned Wolf)/ Woodland Park Zoo/ Jeremy Dwyer-Lindgren

More adorable Halloween pics, below the fold!

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Giraffe Herd Is ‘Two for Two’ at Cincinnati Zoo

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For the second time in less than two months, the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden welcomed a new addition to their Masai Giraffe herd. Five-year-old mom, Jambo, delivered a calf on September 13, in her indoor stall after about two hours of labor.

“Jambo has been on 24-hour baby watch since August 22. Zoo Volunteer Observers (ZVO)’s reported restlessness and pacing starting a little before midnight, hooves out at 12:50, face at 1:20 [a.m.] and baby on the ground 25 minutes later. She stood and nursed within the first hour after birth,” said Christina Gorsuch, Curator of Mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo. “Mom stood rock solid for nursing all night, which is exactly the behavior you hope to see.”

Visitors may get to see the baby as soon as this weekend! Vets will soon do a physical exam and, if all is well and weather cooperates, the females and babies could head outside in a few days.

The new father, Kimba, will be outside in the new bull yard at first but will be reunited with the full group in a week or two.

“Jambo must have been paying attention when Cece gave birth in July,” said Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. “First-time moms don’t always know what to do with their babies, but Jambo has been watching Cece and Cora and seems at ease around her calf.”

The Cincinnati Zoo’s history with Giraffe births dates back to 1889 when it became the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to produce a baby Giraffe. This is the 15th Giraffe born in Cincinnati.

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4_sittingPhoto Credits: Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden

After nearly 15 months of gestation, a baby Giraffe drops to the ground headfirst! The fall and the landing do no hurt the calf, but they do cause it to take a big breath. To prepare for the birth, keepers added 6-8 inches of sawdust in Jambo’s indoor stall and placed hay on top of large rubber mats to cushion the calf’s fall and to provide excellent footing for the calf once it began to stand. The outside yard was also baby-proofed with canvas.

Jambo came to the Cincinnati Zoo in 2013 from the Louisville Zoo on a breeding recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan (SSP). Her mate, Kimba, came to Cincinnati in 2008, from the Roger Williams Park Zoo in Providence, Rhode Island. He has sired five calves: three with Tessa, one with Cece, and one with Jambo.

The Masai Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis tippelskirchi), also known as the Kilimanjaro Giraffe, is the largest subspecies and tallest land mammal. It is native to Kenya and Tanzania.

The Masai Giraffe is often darker than other subspecies. Its blotches are large, dark brown, leaf-shaped with jagged edges, and separated by irregular, creamy brown lines.

Unlike many species, there is no true breeding season for the Masai Giraffe and females can become pregnant beginning at just four years of age. In the wild up to 75% of the calves die in their first few months of life, mainly due to predation.

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Masai may be the most populous of the Giraffe subspecies. There is an estimated fewer than 37,000 remaining in the wild, (though recent reports of significant poaching would suggest it likely to be significantly less) and approximately 100 individuals kept in zoos.

Habitat loss, poaching, disease and civil unrest pose the most significant threats to wild Giraffe.


Peoria Zoo Welcomes Fourth Giraffe to Tower

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Peoria Zoo is proud to announce the birth of a Reticulated Giraffe. The male calf was born July 25 to mother, Vivian, and father, Taji.

A neonatal exam was done shortly after the birth, and the calf weighed in at 102.5 lbs. and measured 5’4” tall.

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In preparation for the birth, Zoo staff modified an off-exhibit stall to offer a secure, quiet, and soft place for the expectant mother and calf. A video camera was installed in the stall so staff could monitor the mother and calf 24/7.

On the day of the calf’s birth, Kim Scott, Curator of Animals, checked the remote camera at 2am. She recalled, “Everything was so calm I just knew it would be the same the next time. I have never woken up as fast as I did at 4am when Vivian turned and I saw 2 hooves sticking out.”

Although three staff members reported to the Zoo within 20 minutes, the calf was born before any arrived. Roz Wolfram, Primary Giraffe Keeper, said, “I can’t believe what an awesome mom Vivian is being.”

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Baby Giraffe Arrives in a Hurry

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The Cincinnati’s Zoo’s newest resident must have been in a hurry to meet the world: The 100-pound Masai Giraffe calf was born after a brief 30-minute labor and stood within an hour of its birth.

Most Giraffe births take up to six hours from the onset of active labor to delivery, but this calf took the shortcut.  It all began when the calf’s first-time mother, Cece, refused to leave her night quarters and enter the zoo’s Giraffe Ridge exhibit on July 27. 

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13686602_10154227951375479_7858067783709357253_nPhoto Credit:  Cincinnati Zoo
 
“Labor started at 9:57 a.m., hooves out at 10, head at 10:22 and birth at 10:27!  The birth process can take up to six hours, so 30 minutes is incredibly fast, especially for a first-time mom,” said Christina Gorsuch, curator of mammals at the Cincinnati Zoo.

The calf, whose gender is not yet known and does not yet have a name, appears strong and healthy.  Keepers identified a heart-shaped spot on the baby’s right shoulder.

The Cincinnati Zoo’s history with Giraffe births dates back to 1889 when it became the first zoo in the Western Hemisphere to produce a baby Giraffe.  This is the 14th Giraffe born in Cincinnati.

After nearly 15 months of gestation, a baby Giraffe drops to the ground head first during the birth process. The fall and the landing do no hurt the calf, but they do cause it to take a big breath.  To prepare for the birth, keepers added more than six inches of wood shavings in Cece’s indoor stall and placed straw on top of large rubber mats to provide stable footing for the calf's first attempts at standing.

Although their numbers have decreased by about 35% in the past two decades, the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists Giraffes as a species of Least Concern.  Researchers are gathering data to better understand the implications of hunting, agriculture, and shrinking wild lands on all nine subspecies of Giraffes.

See more photos of the baby Giraffe below.

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