Posted By : The Animal Facts Editorial Team
Date: February 6, 2023 12:59 pm
Guests and keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on Saturday January 23 watched on in awe as a giraffe calf entered the world. The healthy calf was born at 3.53pm following a two hour labour. This is the fifth born to the herd at Taronga Western Plains Zoo since June and brings the total breeding herd to 14 members.
“This little male is the fifth calf to be born here at the Zoo since June last year, and this is the first time we’ve had five calves so close together in age,” said Giraffe Keeper Bobby-Jo Vial. “Zane is an experienced mum having raised one calf previously. She had a very smooth delivery, with
labor commencing at 2pm.''
Giraffe calves experience a dramatic start to life with the mother standing up during labour and the calf tumbling to the ground. The calf was standing and drinking milk just hours after birth.
“It’s really special to witness a Giraffe birth, and on this occasion some of our guests and volunteers got to see it too,” Bobby-Jo said. “Once the calf was on the ground, Zane immediately started to clean it and as it strengthened, she encouraged it to stand. The other members of the herd were all present and curious throughout the delivery and after the calf had arrived.”
Keepers have chosen Shomari, a Swahili name for boys meaning forceful as the calves name.
“Shomari is thriving, meeting all his early milestones and settling into the herd. As he grows in confidence over the coming weeks, he will spend more time with the other young calves, who are certainly all very interested in him.”
“The coming months will be a great time to come and see the herd, as it’s not often we have such a big group of calves together. We now have 14 Giraffe in the main herd, and another 7 on the African Savannah.”
Wild giraffe numbers have declined 40% over 30 years and now sit at just 117,000. This comes as a result of poaching, habitat encroachment, snares and civil unrest. Taronga Western Plains Zoo support wildlife giraffe herds through selling beads for wildlife in their retail shops. This program retails beadwork crafted by tribes in northern Kenya providing an income stream which removes reliance on destructive livestock.
The tongue of a giraffe is blue. This helps to protect against the harsh rays from the sun when they are regularly sticking out their tongue to collect leaves off the trees similar to sunscreen for humans.
Image: Taronga Western Plains Zoo
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