A rare Rothschild’s giraffe has been born at Chester Zoo with video footage capturing the incredible moment the new calf entered the world.
Born to mum Orla at 3am on 3rd March, CCTV images clearly show the young male landing onto soft straw as he makes a journey of two metres to the ground.
Already standing six feet tall and weighing 70kg, the new calf is expected to reach 18 feet when fully grown and weigh in at over 1000kg.
Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo, said:
“Giraffes give birth standing up and so their young receive quite a welcome to the world, dropping around six feet to the ground. Although this seems like a long way, the fall actually breaks the umbilical cord and helps to stimulate the calf’s first breath – it’s a dramatic entry but it’s just how they do it!
“The new calf has arrived at the end of a 15-month pregnancy for mum Orla and already he stands at 6ft – he could grow to be up to 18ft tall. Orla, an experienced mother, has slipped back into the role like a natural. She’s doing everything right, and it’s lovely to see the close bond between the two of them.
“This latest arrival joins a group of eight Rothschild’s giraffes at the zoo and it’s always an exciting time for the herd when a new calf arrives. Two of the older females, Dagmar and Tula, appear to have taken on the role of protective aunties, helping Orla to watch out for the newborn. The other youngsters in the group love running around together and so, as soon as the calf starts to increase in confidence and venture outside, I’m sure they’ll enjoy having a new playmate around.”
Experts estimate that as few as 1,600 Rothschild’s giraffe remain across Africa with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) reporting habitat loss and poaching as two of its biggest threats.
Chester Zoo has a long history of protecting Rothschild’s giraffes in the wild, working with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Uganda Wildlife Authority in Uganda to successfully increase giraffe numbers with their partnerships.
For further information about Chester Zoo visit chesterzoo.org.