Keepers at Africa Alive! in Suffolk, were said to be “over the moon” at the second birth of a reticulated giraffe calf at the zoo last month.
The female calf, which was delivered without any complications on 23 October at around 5:30pm, was mother Kiara’s second.
For the first three days following the birth, keepers were not convinced that Kiara was letting the calf feed properly, so took the decision to supplement the feed using gold-top milk.
However, she now appears to be back on track and is once again proving to be an excellent mother!
This is the second birth at Africa Alive! in under a month, with a male reticulated giraffe calf being born just 17 days prior to mother Kibibi.
Prior to these two new calves, Kibibi was actually the last giraffe born at Africa Alive! on 26 July 2014 to Kiara. This new addition makes Kiara both a mother and grandmother at the same time!
Kiara arrived at Africa Alive! from Cologne Zoo in Germany, whilst father Jengo came from Amsterdam Zoo, arriving at Africa Alive! in July 2019.
Terry Hornsey, Animal Manager at the zoo, said: “The birth of a giraffe is always good news, but two being born so close together is fantastic news for all the keepers and staff at Africa Alive.
“The keepers have shown incredible patience, dedication and expertise since the female calf was born, ensuring that she has still been able to get the nutrients she needs through supplement feeding, whilst at the same time, encouraging mother Kiara to allow her new calf to feed naturally. The calf is now looking much stronger and is feeding properly from her mother.”
There are nine different sub-species of giraffe, one of which is the reticulated giraffe which can be found in the wild in the arid areas of North and East Africa.
With an IUCN Red List status of ‘Endangered’, it has been estimated that fewer than 11,000 mature individuals were known to be living in the wild at the end of 2018 (from an estimated 28,000 as recently as the late 1990s).
The reticulated giraffe is one of the more common giraffe sub-species that are kept in captivity, with 160 animals being held in 54 zoos across Europe and the U.K.
Those at the zoo are part of a European Endangered breeding programme.
You can learn more about Kiara and the other animals at Africa Alive! on their website.
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