A one day old giraffe calf at the San Diego Zoo passed her first vet check with flying colours yesterday.
Vets and keepers wanted to do a check so they could confirm that she is a she, check her eyes, ears, tongue and throat, take bloods to make sure is drinking her milk and check that the umbilicus (belly button) is healing properly. During the process keepers covered her eyes with a towel which helped keep her calm.
This lanky youngster was determined by vets to be healthy and strong though it is taking her a bit of time to get used to her long legs. Already she stands 6 feet tall and may grow to be 7 ½ ft tall.
Doting mother Bahati and the calf enjoyed a stroll around their paddock following the exam. The calf even spent some time interacting with dad Silver through the fence as he in a separate paddock while the calf bonds with mum. Once it is strong enough they will join the rest of the herd.
Bahati’s labour took three hours and happened on exhibit with zoo guests witnessing her first minutes. Immediately it began to bond with mum and she helped the calf to its feet for the first time.This is Bahati’s 11th calf and she is now on exhibit in the zoos Urban Jungle habitat.
Masai giraffes are also known as Kilimanjaro giraffes. They are the tallest animals on earth and one of the most populous giraffe sub-species. This doesn’t mean they are incredibly common though with numbers in Kenya and Tanzania having dropped from 140,000 during the late 1990s to just 80,000 today. Competing with livestock for resources and habitat loss has put severe strain on the giraffe population.
Photo credit: San Diego Zoo