Posted on 07th February 2023 by Media Relations
Fifth Giraffe calf born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo!
There was plenty of rubber necking at Taronga Western Plains Zoo on Saturday 21 January when the Giraffe herd welcomed another new arrival.
The healthy calf arrived late in the afternoon, much to the delight of watching keepers, guests and volunteers.
“This little male is the fifth calf to be born here at the Zoo since June last year, and this is the first time we’ve had five calves so close together in age,” said Giraffe Keeper Glyn Avery.
Keepers had been monitoring expectant mum Zane’s progress throughout her pregnancy, and knew she was close to delivery.
“Zane is an experienced mum having raised one calf previously. She had a very smooth delivery, with labor commencing at 2pm. The calf was born at 3.53pm and was standing and by 4.41pm.”
Keepers observed the calf suckling for the first time at 4.49pm.
“It’s really special to witness a Giraffe birth, and on this occasion some of our guests and volunteers got to see it too,” Glyn said. “Once the calf was on the ground, Zane immediately started to clean it and as it strengthened, she encouraged it to stand. The other members of the herd were all present and curious throughout the delivery and after the calf had arrived.”
Keepers have named the calf Shomari, which is a Swahili name for boys meaning forceful.
“Shomari is thriving, meeting all his early milestones and settling into the herd. As he grows in confidence over the coming weeks, he will spend more time with the other young calves, who are certainly all very interested in him.”
“The coming months will be a great time to come and see the herd, as it’s not often we have such a big group of calves together. We now have 14 Giraffe in the main herd, and another 7 on the African Savannah.”
The best time to view the Giraffe herd is in the mornings. They are very active during the daily Giraffe Encounter at 10am and whilst the calves aren’t participating in this activity yet, the older ones are certainly interested in what’s going on and often come to the platform for a closer look.
In addition to visiting the Giraffe, guests can learn more about the plight of these gentle giants in the wild by tuning into a virtual Keeper Talk in grounds. 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.
Visitors to the Zoo can make a difference for the giraffe and other species in Northern Kenya simply by purchasing beaded giftware from the Beads for Wildlife range in the Zoo Shop. 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 www.taronga.org.au