Posted on 27th July 2022 by Media Relations
Giraffe keepers and guests alike were delighted over the weekend with the birth of the second giraffe calf born this year into Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s breeding herd. The calf was born on 23 July in the late afternoon sunshine, with keepers watching on to see it stand up, take its first steps and suckle from mother, Mvita.
A mere month after the first calf of the season was born, the newcomer is another welcome addition to the herd.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo Giraffe Keepers were preparing to finish up for the day when a guest alerted the front desk that a new calf had been born. Keepers were quick to stay back and watch over the herd to observe the critical milestones of standing, walking and suckling. After needing a helping nudge from mother Mvita’s gentle hooves, the newborn calf found its wobbly legs. Giraffe keepers agreed that Wayo, meaning footprint in Swahili, was a fitting name for the new arrival.
“It’s always a privilege to see a newborn calf find it feet, suckle for the first time and meet the herd,” said Giraffe Keeper, Bobby-Jo Vial. “The calf is quite large and has very unique markings. Four-week-old calf Matata was very interested in the herd’s newest member and was quick to come over and give the new calf a sniff.”
“You can tell the two calves apart from the unique markings each have on their necks. Matata has a four-leaf clover marking, whereas the new calf has vertebrae-like patterns down its right-hand side.”
The two calves are out in the paddock with the rest of the herd and the can be seen suckling from their mothers Mvita and Ntombi. Mtoto, now a second-time father, was observed sniffing the newborn not long after the birth. Mtoto was transferred into Taronga Western Plains Zoo’s breeding herd in 2019 to increase the genetic diversity in the regional population.
Guests to Taronga Western Plains Zoo can see Giraffe and learn more about the plight of these gentle giants in the wild and conservation status by tuning into a virtual Keeper Talk or experiencing the daily Giraffe Encounter at 10am.
Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade due to habitat encroachment, snares, civil unrest and poaching. The wild population is estimated at less than 117,000, a decline of 40% over 30 years. World Giraffe Day was initiated by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), an organisation dedicated to raising awareness and support to stop the silent extinction of Giraffe.
Visitors to Taronga Western Plains Zoo can make a difference for the giraffe, elephants and endangered African Wild Dogs of Northern Kenya, simply by purchasing the beaded giftware from the Beads for Wildlife campaign. More than 800 women from communities across Northern Kenya handmake the traditional Kenyan beadworks which provides an alternative income to support local communities and lessen their reliance on environmentally damaging livestock. The bead sales help Taronga to support the Northern Rangeland Trust to improve wildlife security in animal populations including Giraffe.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo is open every day from 9am – 5pm (last entry at 4pm). For more information or to purchase tickets visit: https://taronga.org.au/buy-tickets