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[Zoonaute news] ZSL Whipsnade Zoo : Giraffe calf makes lofty debut

le Ven 06 Déc 2013, 16:35
At just four weeks old, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s newest arrival is already standing tall – at almost six feet!

The reticulated giraffe, a baby girl, was born to proud parents, Savannah and Uno, at 8.30am on 13 November. Thrilled zookeepers arrived just in time to see the calf take her first wobbly steps an hour after birth, and start to suckle soon after that.

Zookeeper Cassie Taylor said: “Savannah was born at Whipsnade 12 years ago, so it’s fantastic to see her as a mum herself now, and even more special that we were able to see the calf’s very first moments.

“It’s Savannah’s third calf and she’s  taken motherhood all in her rather long stride – the new arrival is settling in well, and is already showing signs of mum’s calm nature as well as dad’s inquisitiveness.”

The calf, who will be named by Zoo visitors, has spent the first few weeks getting to grips with her long legs as she explores her new home – the Zoo’s brand new Giraffe Heights enclosure.

Unveiled in October, it includes a revamped barn to keep the new arrival extra warm and snug, and a nine-foot-high viewing platform which brings visitors face-to-face with Whipsnade’s giraffes for the very first time.

Over the next few weeks, the calf will slowly be introduced to the rest of the herd who share Giraffe Heights, including half-brother Jengo, aged one, and aunties, Ijuma and Ina.


© ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)
ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s new arrival is in important part of the European Endangered species Programme (EEP) for reticulated giraffes.
In the wild, reticulated giraffes are confined to north-eastern Kenya, eastern Sudan and Eritrea and it is thought there could be less than 5,000 left due to poaching and habitat degradation.

The IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group (GOSG), co-hosted by ZSL, was established in March 2013. With the declining numbers of giraffe and okapi, GOSG will help to attract and strengthen international support for the two species and provide an official forum to support implementation of much needed conservation strategies for the species across the African continent.

The giraffe is the tallest animal in the world - males reach a towering 19 feet tall and weigh between 2400 and 4250 pounds. Females measure up to 17 feet tall and weigh between 1540 and 2600 pounds.

Giraffe calves are the tallest babies in the world, standing at about two metres at birth with horns that lie flat to begin with and pop up several days later.

Reticulated giraffes are the most distinctively patterned of the eight subspecies of giraffe. Their coat has brown, regular, box-like patterns (called a reticulated pattern). White spaces between the patches form narrow lines. This elaborate pattern is good camouflage in dense, dry vegetation.

_________________
"Si les abeilles disparaissaient, l'homme n'aurait plus que quatre années à vivre"; Albert Einstein

« Le but d'un zoo est de ne pas tenir des animaux, mais d'assurer le futur des espèces »
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