Taronga Western Plains Zoo giraffe breeding program produces two new calves

Taronga Western Plains Zoo has double the reason to celebrate with two new and cute additions to the giraffe herd born within a week of each other.

The arrival of the male calves marks an exciting development for the zoo’s giraffe breeding program.

It has an 11-strong breeding herd of the gentle giants that are decreasing in number in the wild.

The first new arrival at the zoo was born on August 8 and named ‘Zuberi’, which means ‘strong’ in Swahili.

His playmate was born on August 15 and has been named ‘Kibo’, a name of African origin, meaning ‘the highest’.

Keeper Pascale Benoit said they were delighted to witness the first birth for the season on August 8, with the calf born on exhibit about midday.

“It was a smooth delivery and was followed by a number of giraffe in the herd getting up close to meet the new calf within moments of its arrival,” she said.

“They were a great support for experienced mother, Asmara, helping her to lick her new calf and encouraging him to stand.

“We were particularly excited to discover our second calf just one week later on Tuesday August 15, born overnight to experienced mother Tuli.

“Both pairs of mother and calf are doing very well, and have integrated nicely back into the herd.”

A third Giraffe female, Ntombi, is confirmed pregnant, with the birth anticipated in the near future.

With giraffe numbers in the wild decreasing over the past decade to an estimated 80,000 remaining, every birth is important.

In just 30 years, the global giraffe population has fallen by up to 40 per cent, due to poaching for bush meat and habitat encroachment.

Taronga is active in supporting the plight of giraffes in the wild, with a well-established partnership with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, one of the largest community conservancies under the umbrella of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT).

The conservancy has improved wildlife security in important animal populations including giraffe, amongst other species, by creating a safer ground for their movement and improving rangeland health.

Visitors to the zoo can help support the NRT by purchasing from the Beads for Wildlife range available at the zoo shop, and by spreading awareness of the plight of giraffes.

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