Rare Endangered Giraffe Species Welcomes New Baby at U.K. Zoo
Earlier this week, a zoo in England welcomed the birth of a Rothschild’s giraffe, a rare and endangered species of giraffe. There are an estimated 1,500 Rothschild’s giraffes left in the wild, making every birth important.
Chester Zoo, located outside of Liverpool, announced that the baby giraffe, who remains unnamed and unsexed, was born around 7 a.m. the day after Christmas to first-time mother Tula. Zoo officials were also excited to announce that the baby was on its feet within minutes of its birth.
“Rothschild’s giraffes are highly endangered and so the arrival of a new calf is a major cause for celebration,” said Sarah Roffe, the head of giraffes at the Chester Zoo. “This iconic species is often overlooked in Africa and, sadly, Rothschild’s giraffes are experiencing a silent extinction.”
The new baby is nearly six-feet tall, but is yet to leave her mother’s side. “When it gets a little more used to its long legs it will be introduced to the rest of the herd but,” Roffe said. “For now, it’s important that mom and calf spend a few days together striking up those early bonds.”
Giraffes in general are labeled as a “vulnerable” species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. However, the Rothschild’s giraffe is one of two subspecies listed as endangered.
Poaching and loss of habitat have been the biggest factors in the Rothschild’s giraffe decline in population. Giraffe experts from Chester Zoo traveled to Uganda earlier this year to help take the first ever census of the subspecies.
“Initiatives like this really show the role that modern zoos play in animal conservation,” said Chester Zoo curator Tim Rowlands. “It will give us a better understanding of how we can help protect the species and its future.”
“They are very much under threat in the wild, so it’s vital that our new calf helps us to throw a spotlight on this amazing species,” says Roffe. “Hopefully, our not-so-little arrival can generate more awareness of the huge pressures that Rothschild’s giraffes face in the wild.”
A brief video of the new giraffe can be seen below: