Giraffe

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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Giraffe Birth at Planckendael’s Savannah Exhibit

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On June 23, Planckendael welcomed their tenth birth at their Savannah exhibit. The new male Giraffe calf entered the world at almost two meters (6.5 feet) long!

This is the fifth offspring for the experienced mother, and she has been spending quality time caring for her new calf.

Zoo Coordinator, Ben Van, said, "It is good that this is the tenth baby for our savannah. It is something to be very proud of, but we also know that it is never routine. Every birth is unique; every birth is different.”

Every year, Planckendael and ZOO Antwerp use one letter of the alphabet to help select names for the zoo babies born during the year. This year, they are using the letter “R”. A contest was recently held, and the public voted on the name “Rafiki” for the new male Giraffe calf!

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3_fotolink-girafR-3Photo Credits: Planckendael / Steffanie Klaassen

 

Planckendael participates in the European Breeding Programme (EEP). They are also supporters of protecting and preserving the lives of the Giraffes in nature. They are proud supporters of a project in the Garamba National Park in Congo. They provide help in protecting and monitoring the endangered Kordofan Giraffes.

The Kordofan Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum) is a subspecies found in northern Cameroon, southern Chad, Central African Republic, and possibly western Sudan. Historically, some confusion has existed over the exact range limit of this subspecies compared to the West African Giraffe. Genetic work has also revealed that all "West African Giraffe" in European zoos are in fact Kordofan Giraffe.

Compared to most other subspecies, the Kordofan Giraffe has relatively small, more irregular spots on the inner legs. Its English name is a reference to Kordofan in Sudan (also spelled Kordofan, it is a former province of central Sudan).

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Tallest Giraffe Calf Ever for Jacksonville Zoo

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Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens proudly announced the birth of a male Reticulated Giraffe calf. Born in the early hours of June 12, his birth marks the 39th giraffe born at the Zoo. Mother, Naomi, has had four previous calves and father, Duke, is famous for being the sire of 15 other “little” ones.

Veterinary staff examined the calf early, the morning after the birth, and determined that it was a healthy boy. He measured 6’4” tall and weighed-in at 187 pounds, and he is the tallest giraffe calf ever born at the Zoo!

After trial introductions to his habitat the weekend after his birth, the calf and mother are now on exhibit with the rest of their herd.

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4_Susan Henken - 2 giraffe calvesPhoto Credits: Jacksonville Zoo & Gardens / Images 1-3 (LeShea Upchurch); Image 4 (Susan Henken); Image 5 (Aree Kongmuang)

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.

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Baby Giraffe Drops In At San Diego Zoo

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The San Diego Zoo’s Masai Giraffe herd grew with the addition of a male calf at the end of May. 

The newborn calf stood six feet tall and tipped the scales at 146 pounds.  Like all Giraffes, Harriet, the calf’s mother, gave birth to her baby while standing up.  The baby emerges front feet first and drops to the ground.  The fall helps separate the calf from the placenta and stimulates breathing.

13330921_10154334515882147_6760609746357196707_nPhoto Credit:  San Diego Zoo

Masai Giraffes are one of nine Giraffe subspecies that range across Africa.  Populations have fallen by nearly half in the last decades to about 80,000 individuals today, mainly due to habitat loss.  Giraffes must also compete with livestock for resources.  In some parts of Africa, armed conflicts have complicated conservation efforts and put Giraffes further at risk.

 


‘Tall Order’ for Giraffe Keepers at Paignton Zoo

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A Rothschild’s Giraffe has been born at Paignton Zoo. The male calf was born to mother Janica on the morning of May 19. Sadly, his mother rejected him, so zookeepers have stepped in to bottle feed him.

Senior Keeper, Craig Gilchrist, said, “He has taken milk from us; he is getting the hang of it. Mammal keepers, Helen Neighbour and Jim Dicks, are doing the feeding. He is separated from the group but can see them all. For the first few days, it is important to keep him separate to allow him to bond with the keepers so he feels comfortable enough to feed from them. As soon as possible, he will be reintroduced to the herd so he doesn’t forget he is a giraffe!”

Paignton Zoo Curator of Mammals, Neil Bemment, added, “At this stage we don’t know why Janica has rejected him. Giraffe mothers are fickle beasts. Sometimes they will rear their calves, sometimes they won’t. For example, Janica reared her first, Tonda, who is now the breeding bull at Chessington Zoo, Surrey, but declined to rear her second Valentino, who was successfully hand reared by the keepers, reintroduced to the family group, and is now in Port Lympne Zoo, Kent.”

Paignton Zoo is going to get through a lot of milk over the next few months. Craig added, “At the moment we need about 4 to 6 litres of gold top milk each day. He will take in around 10% of his body weight in milk each day and gain weight just as quickly. As he grows, so will his milk requirements.”

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4_2016 05 PZ giraffe 3Photo Credits: Paignton Zoo

Hand rearing a giraffe is a lot of extra work and commitment for the keepers. “He is fed 4 times a day and could need milk for up to 9 months. We will start weaning him when he is around 5 to 6 months, depending on how he gets on.”

The calf stands at nearly six feet tall at birth. The gestation period for a giraffe is between 400 and 460 days. The mother gives birth standing up, and the fall breaks the umbilical cord. The calf can stand and run within a few hours.

Father, Yoda, came from Givskud Zoo, Denmark, where he was born on 14th November 2004. He arrived at Devon in September 2006. Janica came to Paignton Zoo from Duvr Kralove Zoo in the Czech Republic.

The Zoo’s other adult female is Sangha, who came from Liberec Zoo, also in the Czech Republic. The other youngsters at the Zoo are Otilie, who was born in September 2012, and Joanna, born in January 2014 (both to mother Sangha) and Eliska, born in January last year to Janica.

All the giraffes at Paignton Zoo Environmental Park (a registered charity in the UK) are Rothschild’s Giraffes.

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Rocket Man Touches Down at Sacramento Zoo

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Shani, a six-year-old Masai Giraffe at the Sacramento Zoo, gave birth to a healthy 163-pound male calf on April 10.

The calf has been given the name Rocket. Zookeepers chose the name based on his playful personality and "on-the-go" attitude.

Currently, mother and son spend most of their time behind-the-scenes in the barn, bonding, with periodic exercise sessions in the side-yard. Rocket is also becoming acquainted with his herd-mates, or “tower”, as they stick their head over fences or stall doors to inspect him. The calf is also learning to manipulate browse with his long, prehensile tongue, even though nursing is his still his main source of nourishment.

Based on the signs Rocket, Shani, and the rest of the herd are giving, zookeepers anticipate the pair making their public exhibit debut in mid-May. However much like other timelines at the Zoo, staff members confess that everything will be done on mom and the calf’s terms.

In the meantime, Rocket and Shani will have intermittent access to the giraffe barn’s side-yard, where lucky and quiet guests might catch a glimpse of Rocket. Staff report that these viewing areas will continue to remain quiet zones, creating a peaceful environment for the pair until the time that they venture out into the main exhibit.

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4_12998327_10153670295139151_614356241312924161_oPhoto Credits: Sacramento Zoo

 

The Sacramento Zoo is now home to six giraffes: three female Reticulated Giraffes, one male Masai Giraffe (Chifu, the father of the new calf), one female Masai Giraffe (Shani, the mother), and the calf. In 2010, the Zoo completed renovations on the giraffe exhibit that includes a state-of-the-art, heated barn. This is the 19th calf born at the Sacramento Zoo, going back to 1964 when the species was first housed here.

The Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) is divided into nine subspecies. There are three subspecies most commonly found in zoological facilities: Reticulated, Rothschild, and Masai.

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.

In addition to a difference in size, Reticulated and Masai Giraffes have slightly different spot patterns; a Masai Giraffe's spots are usually darker and irregular in shape.

Gestation is 14 to 15 months with the female giving birth alone in a secluded spot away from predators. When a calf is born, it can be as tall as six feet and weigh 150 pounds. Within minutes, the baby is able to stand on its own.

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.

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Reticulated Giraffe Calf Born at San Francisco Zoo

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The San Francisco Zoo & Gardens recently welcomed a new addition. A female Reticulated Giraffe calf was born April 8 in the Bernard Osher Foundation Giraffe Barn.

Mother, Barbro, and her calf are in excellent condition, and the calf stood up and took her first steps within 30 minutes of birth. She’s already more than six-feet tall!

“It is such a special time when babies are born at the Zoo,” said Tanya M. Peterson, President of the San Francisco Zoo & Gardens. “You can’t help but fall in love with this calf the moment you see her. We are so fortunate to be able to share this exciting news with our community.”

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4_SF zoo giraffe calf 3Photo Credits: Images 1,3,4,5: San Francisco Zoo / Image 2: Marianne Hale

 

The newest arrival joins six other giraffes in the herd. The calf, not yet named, has a two-year-old sister, Sarah. Dad, Floyd, has fathered a number of giraffes at the Zoo.

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.

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, and they 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 of Threatened Species.

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Masai Giraffe Calf Joins Santa Barbara Zoo Herd

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The Santa Barbara Zoo has a new Masai Giraffe calf. Audrey, aged eight, gave birth to the calf on the evening of March 26 in the Zoo’s Giraffe Barn, after approximately five hours of labor.

The male calf has been named “Chad” in honor of long-time Santa Barbara Zoo supporters, the Dreier Family. The Dreier Family has sponsored seven Giraffes at the Zoo including Chad’s parents Michael and Audrey. “Chad” represents many members of the Dreier family whose first or middle names contain the appellation.

At the calf’s first exam by the Santa Barbara Zoo Animal Care team, the male was measured at six-feet-six-inches-tall and weighed 191 pounds.

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4_Chad's first day outPhoto Credits: Santa Barbara Zoo

 

According to the Santa Barbara Zoo’s director of animal care, Sheri Horiszny, Giraffe calves are born after a gestation of roughly 14.5 months and are typically 125-150 pounds and six feet tall at birth. Chad should grow approximately three feet during his first year of life. Horiszny is also the Program Leader for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums Masai Giraffe Species Survival Program.

Chad recently made his public debut and explored the outdoor exhibit with mom Audrey. Zoo staff say the best time to catch a glimpse of Chad is between 10am and noon.

The Zoo’s Giraffe herd is part of the population of 120 Masai Giraffes that live at 28 North American zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA). Michael, the calf’s sire, is considered the most genetically valuable male Masai Giraffe in captivity, because he has few relatives in zoos other than his offspring born here at the Zoo, which now numbers five.

“Michael’s genetics greatly help the diversity of the North American Masai population,” said Sheri Horiszny, director of animal care. “Every Masai Giraffe born here is critical to keeping the gene pool robust.”

This is the fourth birth for Audrey at the Zoo. Her last calf, Buttercup, born in November 2014, is currently part of the Zoo’s herd. The Zoo’s other female, Betty Lou, is also pregnant, and is expected to give birth in July 2016. This is her third pregnancy and her other offspring are at other accredited zoos as part of a cooperative breeding program of the AZA’s Species Survival Plan. Giraffes have a 14.5-month gestation period.

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