Posted on 20th June 2019 by Media Relations
The start to 2019 was very exciting for us as Giraffe keepers, after a long 15-month wait we welcomed three Giraffe calves! Akachi our first male and Volta our first female were both born in late January and are now almost six months old! In March we welcomed our third and final calf Shingo, another male who is now three months.
When the calves were first born they spent most of their time by their mum’s side or resting on exhibit. Within a few weeks they were getting stronger on their feet and could often be seen running around the exhibit in the mornings. They spend a lot of time together on exhibit however have started to interact more with the other members of the herd. They are often seen following not only their mums but also older siblings, watching and learning how giraffe should behave, communicate and what they eat.
They all still currently rely on their mother’s milk for food however are starting to show interest in and nibble on solids like leaves and lucerne hay. The older two calves have even been coming down to the front of the exhibit during our Giraffe in Focus encounter in the mornings. They are interested in the carrots the rest of the herd are eating! They aren’t quite tall enough to reach the platform yet but when they are I’m sure they’ll be keen carrot snatchers.
The calves are now 3 - 6 months old and growing very fast. They were roughly two metres tall at birth and can grow up to 1cm in height each day. If you have a close look there is a noticeable height difference between our first calf and last calf born this year. When born their ossicones (the horns on the head) lie flat against their head and slowly popping up over a few weeks. All the calves’ ossicones are now upright adding to their impressive height. Each calf will continue to grow over the next 4-5 years reaching heights of up to 5.5 metres.
By Giraffe Keeper, Nicole Pryor