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Rare Giraffe is Born at United Kingdom's Chester Zoo

Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team

Date: March 13, 2021 5:45 pm

rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo

A rothschild's giraffe calf is the latest arrival at Chester Zoo born on March 3rd 2021

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Chester Zoo have a big baby with a giraffe calf having been born at 3am on March 3rd 2021. At birth the calf was already 1.8m (6ft) tall and weighs 70kg (154lbs). When he grows up he may reach 5.5m (18ft) tall and weights over 1000kg (2204lbs).

This is the fifth calf for 13 year old Orla while dad Meru is the father of nine calves.

Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo, said: “Giraffes give birth standing up and so their young receive quite a welcome to the world, dropping around six feet to the ground. Although this seems like a long way, the fall actually breaks the umbilical cord and helps to stimulate the calf’s first breath – it’s a dramatic entry but it’s just how they do it!"

Keepers were able to capture the birth of the calf on camera. This shows the birth, his first steps and his first suckle.

rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo
rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo

A rothschild's giraffe calf is the latest arrival at Chester Zoo born on March 3rd 2021

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Mother Orla has been pregnant for the 15 months prior to the birth.

“The new calf has arrived at the end of a 15-month pregnancy for mum Orla and already he stands at 6ft – he could grow to be up to 18ft tall. Orla, an experienced mother, has slipped back into the role like a natural. She’s doing everything right, and it’s lovely to see the close bond between the two of them," added Roffe.

“This latest arrival joins a group of eight Rothschild’s giraffes at the zoo and it’s always an exciting time for the herd when a new calf arrives. Two of the older females, Dagmar and Tula, appear to have taken on the role of protective aunties, helping Orla to watch out for the newborn. The other youngsters in the group love running around together and so, as soon as the calf starts to increase in confidence and venture outside, I’m sure they’ll enjoy having a new playmate around.”

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Rothschild's giraffes are highly threatened in the wild. As few as 1,600 remain in the wild following a 50% decline in their numbers in recent decades. Habitat loss and poaching are seen as the biggest threats to their survival.

Natural predators such as hyenas, lions, crocodiles and leopards will further reduce their numbers.

Mike Jordan, Director of Animals and Plants at the zoo, added, “Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s giraffe has been almost eliminated from these areas and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations. Encouragingly, they are starting to recover with the support of conservation programmes such as those supported by Chester Zoo but they’re still threatened with habitat loss and an ongoing poaching crisis, which has seen giraffes hunted for their tails to be used as good-luck charms.

Chester Zoo support the work of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda to protect giraffe in the wild. In areas where the zoo and their partners work have reported a sixth consecutive increase in giraffe numbers.

Jordan added, "Working with The Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Uganda Wildlife Authority to monitor, track and protect the giraffe population in Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park, we’re delighted that even with the challenges the pandemic has thrown our way, numbers are slowly increasing. Its positive news and we must push on and do all we can to help prevent the extinction of these gentle giants.”

rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo

A rothschild's giraffe calf is the latest arrival at Chester Zoo born on March 3rd 2021

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

Learn more about giraffes here – Giraffe Fact File | The Animal Facts

Learn more about Chester Zoo on their website – Chester Zoo

rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo
rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo
rare giraffe calf at Chester Zoo

A rothschild's giraffe calf is the latest arrival at Chester Zoo born on March 3rd 2021

Photo Credit: Chester Zoo

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