Giraffe

UPDATE: Baby Giraffe Meets Her Fans

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A baby Giraffe born November 29 recently made her public debut at Florida’s Brevard Zoo.

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122215178Photo Credit:  Brevard Zoo

The female calf, who has not yet been named, was behind the scenes with her mother Johari since her birth.  This allowed the calf to bond with her mother and slowly be introduced to other members of the zoo’s giraffe herd. 

Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months, and the mother gives birth standing up.  This calf weighed 152 pounds at birth and stood about six feet tall. ZooBorns shared the calf’s first photos here.

This calf is a Masai Giraffe, which is one of nine subspecies of Giraffe.  All Giraffes are native to Africa, but their numbers are shrinking due to habitat loss and human encroachment into formerly wild lands. 

 


Warsaw Zoo Gives Extra Care to Giraffe Calf

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Just prior to Christmas, a male Giraffe was born at the Warsaw Zoo. New mom Lissy had difficulty feeding her calf so the Zoo’s staff have stepped in to assist.

For a short time, the calf also sported a bandage around his middle to help his umbilical cord heal.

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4_701936_1082210238485596_2266478646362177138_oPhoto Credits: Warsaw Zoo

Warsaw Zoological Garden was founded in 1928. Originally, it covered only 12 hectares (30 acres) of grounds (presently it is 40 hectares = 99 acres) and collected almost 500 animal specimens.

The 1930’s was a period of intense development of the Zoo, under management of Director Jan Żabiński. At that time, many facilities were constructed for exotic animals: Monkey House, Hippopotamus House, Elephant House, Giraffe House, Polar Bears’ Run and Seals’ Pool. The biggest success was birth of female Indian Elephant – Tuzinka in 1937. It was subsequently the twelfth Elephant born in captivity in the world, and until now the only in Poland.

In 1939 the Zoo terrain was enlarged to 32 hectares (79 acres), making Warsaw Zoo the largest in Europe.

In September 1939 – in time of the greatest prosperity – Warsaw Zoo ceased to exist. As a result of bombings that beset Warsaw, a part of the Zoo’s facilities were destroyed and many animals died. Most of the dangerous animals were shot down, on command of authorities. Some surviving animals went loose in the City, and the most valuable specimens, including Tuzinka were taken away to Germany. Their fate was never learnt, but it is believed they were relocated to Nazi game-hunting farms.

During WWII, former director of the Zoo, Jan Żabiński, and his wife risked their lives by rescuing over 300 Jews, many having hidden at their Zoo Villa.

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New Giraffe Calf Joins Tower at Artis

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Natura Artis Magistra, in the Netherlands, welcomed its newest Reticulated Giraffe on November 30th.

The new male calf is the third giraffe born at the Zoo this year. The new mother was also born at Artis in 2010, and this is her second offspring. The herd, or "tower" (as a group of giraffes is called), at Artis now consists of nine: five females and four males.

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4_12339380_905624949512606_6088625754170277191_oPhoto Credits: Safi Kok

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.

Continue reading "New Giraffe Calf Joins Tower at Artis" »


Eighth Giraffe Birth for Brevard Zoo

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At six feet and 152 pounds, the newest resident at Brevard Zoo, in Melbourne, Florida, is a bit larger than most babies (or fully-grown humans, for that matter). After a 15-month gestation period, mother Johari gave birth to the female Masai Giraffe calf on November 29.

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4_20151202-006Photo Credits: Brevard Zoo

 The newborn is not expected to make its public debut for several weeks while she bonds with her mother behind the scenes. In the meantime, the public is encouraged to monitor the Zoo’s social media channels for updates.

“Mom and baby are both doing very well,” said Michelle Smurl, Director of Animal Programs at the Zoo. “We’re keeping a very close eye on them, which is critically important in the early stages of life.”

Although this is the Zoo’s eighth Giraffe birth, these charismatic mammals are not faring as well in the wild due to habitat loss and civil unrest. According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, their numbers have declined by more than 40% since 1998.

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.

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Singapore Zoo Celebrates New Giraffe Calf

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On August 31, Singapore Zoo proudly welcomed its first Giraffe calf in 28 years. The male calf is the first offspring for mom, Roni, and dad, Growie, who both arrived at the Singapore Zoo in 2005, from Israel and the Netherlands respectively.

The unnamed calf has grown 40cm since birth, and now stands at 2.3 meters (7.5 feet). He is the tallest ‘SG50’ baby, and is a “symbol of Singapore soaring to new heights in the years following its Jubilee celebration”. ‘SG50’ was a nationwide effort to celebrate Singapore’s 50th birthday in 2015. 

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Photo & Video Credits: Wildlife Reserves Singapore

During the calf’s first month, zookeepers kept the mother and baby separated from the rest of the Giraffe herd to allow them to bond, and to ensure the calf was nursing properly. Keepers also needed time to baby-proof the exhibit as a safety precaution before allowing the calf to explore its new surroundings. Existing barriers had to be modified to ensure the baby can explore the exhibit safely.

Gradually, mother and baby were reintroduced to the other two Giraffes in the herd: Growie, the father, and Lucy, an unrelated female, which arrived in Singapore together with Roni. The conditioning process took close to three weeks, as keepers wanted to ensure the calf was accepted by the herd. All four are now comfortably sharing the exhibit and can regularly be seen grooming each other to strengthen their bonds.

Aside from the mother’s milk, the calf can now be seen nibbling on leaves and chopped vegetables, such as carrots. He now spends his days exploring and running around in the exhibit at the Zoo’s Wild Africa zone. While he’s starting to get used to passing trams and visitors, he will still race back to the safety of mom’s towering presence when faced with something unfamiliar.

“Animal babies are always a cause for celebration as they are a good indication that the animals under our care feel comfortable and secure enough to breed in the environment that we’ve created for them. We hope the calf will tug at visitors’ heartstrings and inspire them to find out more about Giraffes and other animals that thrive in the same environment as these majestic creatures,” said Dr. Cheng Wen-Haur, Chief Life Sciences Officer, Wildlife Reserves Singapore.

Continue reading "Singapore Zoo Celebrates New Giraffe Calf" »


Rothschild Giraffe Born at Dublin Zoo

1_DublinZoo_RothschildCalfDublin Zoo is celebrating the birth of a male Rothschild Giraffe. The calf was born October 25th and stands tall at 1.5 meters (5 feet) and weighs an estimated 45 kg (99 lbs.).

The giraffe calf made his first outside appearance in the Dublin Zoo’s African Savanna at four-days-old. He joins a herd of eight Rothschild Giraffes at Dublin Zoo.

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4_DublinZoo_RothschildCalfPhoto Credits: Dublin Zoo

Team leader at Dublin Zoo, Helen Clarke-Bennett said, “The calf was born in the giraffe house with the other female members of the herd present. The team watched the birth unfold on our closed circuit cameras. The birth took over an hour and we noticed that the herd was very attentive each step of the way. We’re very excited about this addition to the Dublin Zoo herd.”

The Rothschild 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 Giraffe is at risk of hybridization and is currently classified as “Endangered” on the IUCN Red List.

The Rothschild 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 has paler, orange-brown patches that are less defined. Also, the Rothschild 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.

Continue reading "Rothschild Giraffe Born at Dublin Zoo" »


Milwaukee County Zoo Announces Giraffe Birth

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The Milwaukee County Zoo is proud to announce the September 16th birth of a male Reticulated Giraffe. The last giraffe birth at the Zoo was in 2003.

The newest calf was born to first-time mom, Ziggy, and first-time dad, Bahatika. On September 17th, veterinarians completed the calf’s first exam, and they recorded a weight of 157 pounds and a height of 5 feet 9 inches tall. Zookeepers have been monitoring mother and baby; Ziggy has been very attentive to the calf, which is nursing regularly.

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Five-year-old Ziggy arrived at the Milwaukee County Zoo, in 2013, from Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Dad Bahatika is 10 years old and arrived at the Zoo, in 2006, from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado.

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.

Continue reading "Milwaukee County Zoo Announces Giraffe Birth" »


New Giraffe Debuts at Como Zoo

1_11900058_10155989449560068_7294586433678829458_nComo Park Zoo & Conservatory, in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is excited to welcome a new Reticulated Giraffe to its herd. Coming into the world at just under six feet, the baby stands tall with mother, Clover, shadowing over her.

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4_11947787_10156011069485068_5121173980227368983_oPhoto Credits: Como Zoo / Outdoor pics courtesy "Zookeeper Allison"

The female giraffe, born August 24th, is the 6th calf born to Clover and the 19th giraffe birth at Como Zoo in the last 22 years. The yet-to-be named calf weighed 135 pounds and measured 5’ 8” tall, at birth. Como Zoo’s current herd consists of Clover, Daisy, Skeeter (the new calf’s father), Skye, and the new female.

The baby made her public debut, recently, and enjoyed the last of the summer sun with her mom. The giraffes, at Como, have the option to roam their outdoor yard or stay behind the scenes, but Clover is often more apt to stay behind the scenes than the other giraffes at the Zoo.

Giraffes are the tallest of all land-living animal species. They can be as tall as 18 feet and have a prehensile tongue (used for grasping), which can be as long as 18 inches. During the first two years of a giraffe’s life, it doubles in height, often standing over 12-feet tall. Giraffe gestation lasts between 14 and 15 months, after which a single calf is born. Like human fingerprints, the markings or spots of a giraffe’s coat are unique to each individual.

Reticulated Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis reticulate) are native to the dry savannahs and open woodlands of Somalia, southern Ethiopia, and northern Kenya. Also known as the Somali Giraffe, the Reticulated Giraffe is one of the most well-known of the nine giraffe subspecies. They are currently classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

Continue reading "New Giraffe Debuts at Como Zoo" »


It's A Boy! Baby Giraffe Born At Auckland Zoo

11893970_10153106151701984_8230317602288156455_oEarly in the morning on August 21, a baby Rothschild’s Giraffe was born at New Zealand’s Auckland Zoo!

The male calf was born to mother Kiraka and father Zabulu.  This is the second calf for Kiraka and the first male calf to be born at the zoo since 2010.

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Photo Credit:  Auckland Zoo

For now, Kiraka and her calf are behind the scenes bonding, but the staff expects them to join the herd in the exhibit soon.

Baby Giraffes are born while the mother is standing, and fall six feet to the ground.  The fall breaks the umbilical cord and induces the newborn to take its first breath.  Mom immediately begins licking her baby, and the calf attempts to stand within the first hour of birth.  Shortly afterward, the calf will begin to nurse.  These instincts are important to a calf's survival in the wild.  If the calf can’t get up and move right away, it could fall prey to hungry hyenas or lions.

Once believed to be plentiful across Africa, Giraffes are now known to be in serious decline.  Of the nine subspecies of Giraffes, two are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature – including the Rothschild’s Giraffe.  Threats come from loss and fragmentation of habitat.  Giraffes have already become extinct in seven African countries.   


Baby Giraffe Drops In At ABQ Biopark

UnnamedThe latest addition to the Albuquerque BioPark zoo is a male Reticulated Giraffe, born overnight July 16-17. The baby's mother, June, is very experienced with newborns, as this is her tenth calf. 

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20065314755_8836605f19_kPhoto Credit:  Albuquerque BioPark

June is 21 years old and has been at the ABQBioPark Zoo since 1998. Buccaneer, the father, has been at the zoo since 2006. This is their fourth calf together. 

"The baby is doing great, and was up and moving very quickly," said Paul Huang, senior zoo keeper.  "June is a very calm and casual mother, she's an old pro at this."

Giraffes are pregnant for about 15 months. After dropping six feet to the ground during the birth process, baby Giraffes typically stand within an hour of birth.  They walk shortly thereafter and usually will hide for a few days before starting to follow their mother around.

June and Buccaneer are paired as part of the Species Survival Plan (SSP). The SSP is a program developed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums to help maintain a healthy and genetically diverse animal population within the zoo community.

As part of the plan, after about two years,  the newest generation of Giraffes are often eventually located to other zoos. June has offspring all over the county, including San Francisco, Detroit and Topeka. 

Once plentiful, wild Giraffe populations in Africa are rapidly declining.  Of the nine subspecies of Giraffes, two are listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Only about 1,100 Reticulated Giraffes remain in the wild.