Zoo Keepers at Taronga Western Plains Zoo are excited to welcome two new arrivals to the Giraffe herd, a female calf born on Saturday 27th February 2016 to experienced mother Tulli and a male calf born to mother Asmara on Tuesday 8th March 2016.
At approximately 1pm on Saturday lucky visitors came across Tulli in early stages of labour, some patient visitors waiting to observe the calf’s birth on exhibit at approximately 2pm.
Keepers have named the calf Zane, meaning well born and noble in Swahili.
Keepers say that Tulli’s experience as a mother is evident, she is maternal yet relaxed.
“Tulli is a very experienced mother, very relaxed and is showing all the right maternal behaviours caring for her calf,” said Keeper, Simone Low.
“Tulli was born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo in 1997 and has played a major role in the breeding program to date. It is hoped that in the future once the new calf is old enough, that he will also play an important role in the regional breeding program,” said Simone.
Although giraffes usually give birth early in the morning the latest two have both been born on exhibit during the middle of the day.
“Asmara gave birth this Tuesday, 8 March. She is the most outgoing female of the herd so we knew she would feel comfortable wherever she gave birth,” said Simone.
After monitoring the calf for approximately 40 minutes, keepers observed the youngster take its first wobbly steps, it was then confirmed the calf was a male. Keepers have named the latest calf Amahle (pronounced A-marl) meaning beautiful one in Zulu.
Typically in the wild a new giraffe calf will hide for much of the day and stay close to the ground. After a couple of weeks the mother encourages her calf to form a crèche with other calves in the herd. It is expected Zane and Amahle will join the other two female calves born early this year, Nyah and Kito, to spend most of the day galloping around and exploring their exhibit.
“Over the coming weeks, the two newest additions will start to become more confident and explore the rest of the exhibit with the other young calves which will be great to see,” said Simone.
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.”