The Wilds is proud to announce the birth of a male Masai Giraffe calf on July 10. Guests taking an Open-Air Safari Tour witnessed the birth in the open pasture at The Wilds, creating an unforgettable experience. So far, the calf appears strong and healthy, staying close to his mother. The Giraffe care team monitors mom and baby as they make their daily rounds.
The calf’s father, Raha, was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in April 2006, and the calf’s mother, Lulu, was born at Cincinnati Zoo in October 2012. This calf is Lulu’s first, and he was born after a gestation period of about 15 months. Like all Giraffe births, Lulu delivered her calf while standing up. Within a few hours of his birth, the calf stood, nursed, and began walking.
The breeding of Raha and Lulu was based on a recommendation from the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ (AZA) Species Survival Plan® (SSP), a program designed to increase the genetic health and diversity of threatened and endangered species in human care.
“Welcoming a Giraffe calf to our herd is always an incredibly exciting time for our team,” said The Wilds Vice President Dr. Jan Ramer. “Not only is this birth a milestone here at The Wilds, but it also gives us great hope and a foothold to sustain declining populations of this species in their native ranges.”
Giraffes are listed as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, due to habitat degradation and poaching. In an effort to reduce threats to Giraffes, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds support several conservation projects in Giraffe range countries across Africa, including the Serengeti Giraffe Project based in Tanzania, the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust in Kenya, and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and Uganda.
Male Giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are 13 to 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animals and are the largest ruminants. Their native ranges are savannas, grasslands or open woodlands in central and southern African countries.
See more photos of the calf below.