Taronga Western Plains Zoo has welcomed not one, but two brand new additions to the Giraffe herd, born within one week of each other!
The arrival of the newborn male calves marks an exciting development for the Zoo’s Giraffe breeding program, which has an 11-strong breeding herd of the gentle giants.
The first calf has been named ‘Zuberi’, which means ‘strong’ in Swahili, and the second calf has been named ‘Kibo’, a name also of African origin, meaning ‘the highest’.
“We were delighted to witness the first birth for the season on Tuesday 8 August, with the calf born on exhibit around midday,” Keeper Pascale Benoit said.
“It was a smooth delivery and was followed by a number of Giraffe in the herd getting up close to meet the new calf within moments of its arrival. They were a great support for experienced mother, Asmara, helping her to lick her new calf and encouraging him to stand.
“We were particularly excited to discover our second calf just one week later on Tuesday 15 August, born overnight to experienced mother Tuli.
“Both pairs of mother and calf are doing very well, and have integrated nicely back into the herd,” Pascale said.
A third Giraffe female, Ntombi, is confirmed pregnant, with the birth anticipated in the near future.
With Giraffe numbers in the wild decreasing over the past decade to an estimated 80,000 remaining, every birth is important. In just 30 years, the global Giraffe population has fallen by up to 40 percent, due to 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.
Visitors to the Zoo can help support the NRT by purchasing from the Beads for Wildlife range available at the Zoo Shop, and by spreading awareness of the plight of Giraffes.