Taronga Western Plains Zoo staff are excited to welcome the second female Giraffe calf this year, born in the evening of Monday, 1 February.
The birth delighted Zoofari guests who witnessed it during their evening behind the scenes tour. Tour guides quickly alerted Keepers who were delighted to find the healthy calf.
Keepers have named the calf Kito (kee-toe), meaning “gem” in Swahili.
Kito is the first calf for mother, Myzita, who is showing all the right maternal behaviours.
“Kito is on exhibit with the rest of the herd including our other calf Nyah, born earlier this year,” said Giraffe Keeper Fiona Cameron.”She is distinguishable from Nyah by her size and her lighter colouring.”
“Over the coming weeks, Kito will become more confident and we’ll start to see the two calves run, play and explore together.”
“We are still expecting more Giraffe calves to be born this year, which is really very exciting.”
Giraffe numbers in the wild have been decreasing over the past decade it is estimated less than 80,000 Giraffe remain in the wild. The 30% drop in numbers is directly due to poaching for bush meat and also habitat encroachment by farmers.
“Every birth for a species such as the Giraffe that are seeing a decline in wild populations is important, as it helps to insure against extinction,” Fiona said.
“Through programs such as Beads for Wildlife, we aim to help animals such as Giraffe by providing communities in Kenya with alternate income sources so they don’t have to rely so much on the herds and grazing. Less livestock means less pressure on water and food for wildlife such as the Giraffe.”