Meet Willow the Rothschild Giraffe

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Lion Country Safari of West Palm Beach, Florida, welcomed its second giraffe calf of the year. The baby, named Willow, was born overnight on March 22nd. The female calf was exceptionally tall at birth, standing 6-foot 3-inches tall and weighing 174 pounds. 

Willow and her mom, both Rothschild Giraffes, are separated from the herd in a maternity pen to allow bonding time. They will join the rest of the herd in about three months. 

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Photo Credits: Lion Country Safari Park
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Rare Rothschild's Giraffe Born at Chester Zoo


Keepers and conservationists at the United Kingdom's Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare Rothschild's Giraffe calf - the world’s most endangered subspecies of Giraffe.  The female calf was born on March 25 to first-time mother Orla after a 14 ½ month pregnancy.  Rothschild’s Giraffes are distinguished by broader dividing white lines and have no spots below the knees.

Despite being just a few days old, the six-foot-tall youngster, named Millie, is already towering over zoo keepers.



Photo Credits:  Chester Zoo

“For a first time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far.  Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after,” said Chester Zoo’s curator of mammals Tim Rowlands.  “Rothschild's Giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programs in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We’re therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer.”

According to conservationists there are now less than 670 Rothschild's Giraffes left in the wild, with the population declining by more than 80% in the last ten years.  Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s Giraffe has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.  These elegant mammals are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature

Chester Zoo supports important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild's Giraffe with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.

See more photos of Millie below the fold.

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Houston Zoo's Baby Masai Giraffe Named After Yao Ming

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The newest and tallest addition to the Houston Zoo is a male Masai Giraffe, born to 5-year-old mom Neema and 6-year old dad Mtembei early on February 25, after a 14-month gestation. The calf weighs 139 pounds (62 kilos), and stands 74 inches tall (1.87 m). “The calf was standing on his own a little over an hour after he was born and was nursing about 4 hours later,” said Hoofed Stock Supervisor John Register. 

The calf has been named Yao by the keepers who cared for Neema through her pregnancy, in honor of former Houston Rockets player Yao Ming. Working with the conservation organization WildAid, Yao Ming has led the world’s largest conservation awareness program spotlighting illegal elephant and rhino poaching in Africa and the shark fin trade in Asia. Yao toured the Zoo’s Giraffe, Rhino and Elephant exhibits on February 14. You can read more about that and his efforts for conservation on the Houston Zoo’s website.

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Bledsoe-Adams/Houston Zoo

While Masai Giraffes are not threatened or endangered in their native habitat, there are only about 100 of the species living in 24 North American zoos. Giraffes are the tallest living terrestrial animal.  Males average 17 feet in height and can weigh up to 2,500 pounds.  Female Masai giraffes typically reach a height of 14 feet.  At birth, Masai giraffes weigh between 125 and 150 pounds and stand approximately 6 feet tall.

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Zoo Berlin Welcomes Baby Giraffe

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It’s been four years since a Giraffe was born at Zoo Berlin, so the arrival of a male baby to 10-year-old female Kibaya on February 26 was cause for celebration.

Zoo keepers estimate the baby’s height at 72 inches (1.85 meters) and its weight at 220 pounds (100 kg) – a relatively large newborn, even for a bull calf.


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Photo Credit:  Zoo Berlin

The zoo’s historic Antelope and Giraffe house was closed for a few days to let the newborn gain strength and bond with his mother.  The baby’s arrival brings the total number of Giraffes in the zoo’s herd to four.

Though he’s already big compared to other zoo babies, this little Giraffe still has a lot of growing to do before he reaches maturity.  He’ll spend an entire year nursing from his mother, with tastes of hay and solid foods being introduced within the first few months.  

Odense Zoo Welcomes Baby Giraffe


Denmark’s Odense Zoo enjoyed a mid-winter boost when a Giraffe calf was born on February 20. The female baby weighs 132 pounds (60 kg) and stands about five-and-a-half feet (170 cm) tall.   


Photo Credit:  Odense Zoo

The Odense Zoo staff eagerly awaited the arrival of this little calf.  The calf’s mother and father are both first-time parents, but they’ve adjusted well to their new roles.  With this most recent baby, the zoo now has seven Giraffes, including two other calves born since 2011 when a new African exhibit opened at the zoo. 

Giraffes are the world’s tallest land animals, well adapted for foraging in the treetops on savannahs south of Africa’s Sahara desert.  Acacia leaves are among their favorites, despite formidable thorns on the trees’ branches.  Giraffes strip the leaves from the branches with their 18-inch-long tongue.

Giraffes gather in loose groups on the savannah, providing a distinct advantage for each individual:  many pairs of eyes can survey the area for potential threats, such as lions. 

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Baringo Giraffe Calf Has Family Time at Bioparc Valencia

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Two-month-old giraffe Ramses is out and about with the rest of the herd at Bioparc Valenica, Spain. 

Born on November 30th, Ramses is the offspring of Zora and Julius. Zora's first calves were hand-reared by caretakers after the mother rejected her brood. But there's good news: Zora has bonded with her calf this time, and she nurses and devotes caring attention to Ramses. 

Now on display, Ramses shares his exhibit home with other species of the African savanna, including Thomson's Gazelles, Blesbok, Impalas, Crowned Cranes, and Jabirus. 

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Photo Credits: Bioparc Valencia

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Mogo Zoo's Visitors in Awe at Birth of Baby Rothschild Giraffe

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In New South Wales on the afternoon of January 24, Mogo Zoo's visitors got to witness a rare sight: a baby Giraffe being born.

Mom Shani, a Rothschild Giraffe, began the first stages of labor while on view in the habitat, surrounded by the rest of the herd, who clearly understood what was going on. Following a one and-a-half hour labor, as the visiting public looked on in awe and delight, a healthy female calf was born at 12:57 p.m.. She weighed in at 264.5 pounds (120 kg). Shani, now an experienced third-time mother, has bonded extremely well with her newborn, starting with a thorough cleaning of the newborn with her long tongue.

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The calf made her first wobbly attempts to stand at 1:45 p.m. and was attempting to nurse by 2:00 p.m. Seeing that those milestones had been reached, the proud mother gently nosed her calf over to the adjoining savannah fence, where the remaining members of the herd were eagerly awaiting an introduction.

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Photo Credit: Mogo Zoo

Of the nine subspecies of giraffes in Africa, the Rothschild’s Giraffe is classified as Endangered, with less than 670 individuals remaining in the wild. The populations are declining due to a number of factors, including habitat loss and fragmentation. Human population growth and illegal hunting also contribute to their dwindling numbers. Mogo Zoo already plays a major role in the Global Breeding Program for this Endangered sub-species. With the recent introduction of Tanzi, the zoo's newest breeding female from Melbourne Zoo, Mogo Zoo is confident that their participation and success in the Program will continue to grow.

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Newborn Reticulated Giraffe Stands Tall at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo


Just twenty minutes after his birth, this five-foot, four-inch calf was already walking about on four spindly legs.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo welcomed its twenty-first Reticulated Giraffe to the herd on January 23rd. Msichana, the calf’s eleven-year-old mother, began birthing at noon as zoo visitors looked on. Caretakers quickly moved her to an indoor stall for privacy, and the one-hundred-and-four-pound baby was born within the hour.

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Photo credits: Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Daily monitoring finds that the calf and his mother are doing well. The two are already back on display for the public. After he reaches thirty days old, the zoo will give the calf a name.

Peek over the fold. 

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Baby Giraffe is Standing Tall at Burgers' Zoo


Just two days ago on January 25, this female giraffe was born at Burgers’ Zoo in The Netherlands.   The baby is named Annelieke, but the zoo staff has already nicknamed her Lieke.

Female giraffes give birth standing up.  The baby emerges front feet first, followed by the nose, head, neck, body, and hindquarters.   The baby drops about six feet to the ground and within minutes, struggles to stand up.   With encouraging licks from mom’s 18-inch-long tongue, the baby eventually stands upright on wobbly legs – at least for a few seconds!  Zoo staffers rarely assists in giraffe births, and most babies stand and nurse successfully within the first few hours of life. 


Photo Credit:  Burgers' Zoo

Why the hurry to get the baby on its feet? In the wild, baby giraffes are easy prey for hungry lions and hyenas.  The sooner the baby can walk and follow the herd, the better.

There are nine subspecies of giraffes, with each found in fragmented populations across central, eastern, and southern Africa. 


Brookfield Zoo Welcomes 58th Giraffe Calf


Arnieta, a 5-year-old reticulated giraffe at Brookfield Zoo, gave birth to a male calf in the early afternoon on November 12. Mother and baby spent their first week together off exhibit to allow for good maternal bonding and to make sure the calf is developing normally.

The birth took place in an off-exhibit area. Soon after the birth, the 140-pound, 6-foot-2-inch-tall calf stood and began nursing. This week they are being introduced to the other females in the herd: Mithra, 22; Franny, 21; and Jasiri, 7, in the zoo’s Habitat Africa! exhibit.






This calf is the 58th giraffe born at Brookfield Zoo. His birth marks three generations of giraffes at Brookfield Zoo, as Franny is Arnieta’s mom. The sire, Hasani, 4, who arrived at Brookfield Zoo in 2010, is on a breeding loan from Lee Richardson Zoo in Garden City, Kansas. The calf’s birth is a very important addition to the North American zoo population because it is the first offspring for both Arnieta and Hasani. The pairing of the two was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Reticulated Giraffe Species Survival Plan (SSP). An SSP is a cooperative population management and conservation program for select species in accredited AZA zoos and aquariums. Each SSP manages the breeding of a species to maintain a healthy and self-sustaining population that is both genetically diverse and demographically stable.

Following a 14½-month gestation period, mother giraffes give birth while standing, resulting in an approximately five-foot drop delivery for the calf. Within an hour after birth, the calf born at Brookfield Zoo was standing. When fully grown, he could potentially reach 18 feet tall.

Giraffe numbers have declined by 40 percent in the last decade, and there are now fewer than 80,000 individuals in Africa. There are fewer than 5,000 reticulated giraffe left in East Africa.

Additionally, of the nine subspecies of giraffes in Africa, two—the West African giraffe and the Rothschild’s giraffe—are classified as endangered, with less than 250 and 670 individuals, respectively, remaining in the wild. The populations are declining due to a number of factors, including habitat loss and fragmentation coupled with human population growth and illegal hunting.

Phptp Credits:  Brookfield Zoo