Posted on 04th October 2017 by Media Relations
Proving all good things come in threes, Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed a third healthy Giraffe calf for the breeding season! The birth follows the arrival of two male Giraffe calves in August - Zuberi and Kibo.
This time a female, the calf was born in the early hours of 11 September to experienced mother Ntombi and father Unnami. The birth is another great achievement for the Zoo’s successful Giraffe breeding program and flourishing breeding herd of 11 individuals.
“We’re pleased to have three healthy Giraffe calves born this breeding season, with each doing well under the watchful eye of their mothers,” Taronga Western Plains Zoo Keeper Simone Low said.
“The new female calf has been named ‘Malaika’, which translates to ‘Angel’ in Swahili.
“We were excitedly awaiting her arrival, with mother Ntombi showing all the right physical and behavioural signs for some weeks in the lead up to the birth.
“The delivery was smooth and a number of the other Giraffes assisted in welcoming the baby by licking her, as mother Ntombi encouraged her to stand with a few gentle nudges,” Simone said.
The two male calves, Zuberi, meaning ‘strong’ in Swahili, and Kibu, ‘the highest’, were born within a week of each other, on 8 and 15 August respectively. Nearing two months of age, they are spending more time exploring the exhibit independently of their mothers.
“Malaika is still becoming accustomed to her surroundings and doesn’t stray too far from Ntombi’s side. We expect she will continue to gain confidence in coming weeks,” Simone said.
While Giraffe calves remain by their mother’s side for the first month or more of life, they commonly congregate in crèches to rest and socialise, up to around five months of age.
Giraffe numbers in the wild have decreased drastically over the past decade, with an estimated 80,000 remaining. The global Giraffe population has fallen by up to 40 percent in the last 30 years; a result of poaching for bush meat, and habitat encroachment.
Taronga is active in supporting the plight of Giraffes in the wild, with a well-established partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, one of the largest community conservancies under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT). The conservancy has improved wildlife security in important animal populations including Giraffe, amongst other species, by creating a safer ground for their movement and improving rangeland health.