“Both mom and calf are doing well,” said Jaimee Flinchbaugh, hoofstock supervisor. “Ellie is an experienced, doting mom, and her calf is full of energy and personality. We are excited to watch her grow.”
Already the calf is 5ft (1.5m) tall and is starting to make appearances in the giraffe yard. Over the next year she will almost double in height growing 3cm (1.1in) a day.
Giraffes are in the womb for a whole 15 months until the mother gives birth standing up. Calves fall hooves first to the ground. Following the birth it takes just an hour for them to get to their feet so that they are able to elude predators.
Unfortunately their ability to run from predators is not helping them to run from extinction. In the past decade numbers have almost halved going from 140,000 to 80,000. Illegal poaching and habitat destruction are contributing to this severe decline.
To help halt the wild decline of giraffes the Association of Zoos and Aquariums runs a Species Survival Plan which co-operatively manages the breeding of giraffes in captivity to maintain genetically viable and geographically stable giraffe groups. There is a special focus on the Rothschild’s and reticulated giraffe subspecies.
Photo Credit: Oklahoma City Zoo