The baby boom at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo has continued, with a new giraffe calf now on display.
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The calf was born in the afternoon of Saturday, January 23, much to the delight of watching keepers, guests and volunteers.
It's the first animal to be born at the zoo in 2023.
"This little male is the fifth calf to be born here at the zoo since June last year, and this is the first time we've had five calves so close together in age," giraffe keeper Bobby-Jo Vial said.
Keepers had been monitoring expectant mum Zane's progress throughout her pregnancy and knew she was getting close last month.
"Zane is an experienced mum having raised one calf previously. She had a very smooth delivery, with labor commencing at 2pm. The calf was born at 3.53pm and was standing and by 4.41pm," Ms Vial said.
Keepers observed the calf suckling for the first time at 4.49pm.
"It's really special to witness a giraffe birth, and on this occasion some of our guests and volunteers got to see it too," Ms Vial added.
"Once the calf was on the ground, Zane immediately started to clean it and as it strengthened, she encouraged it to stand. The other members of the herd were all present and curious throughout the delivery and after the calf had arrived."
The calf has been named Shomari, which is a Swahili name for boys meaning forceful.
"Shomari is thriving, meeting all his early milestones and settling into the herd. As he grows in confidence over the coming weeks, he will spend more time with the other young calves, who are certainly all very interested in him," Ms Vial said.
"The coming months will be a great time to come and see the herd, as it's not often we have such a big group of calves together. We now have 14 giraffe in the main herd, and another 7 on the African Savannah."
The giraffe birth comes after a spectacular year of new arrivals in 2022.
A zebra filly, lion cubs, quokka joey, ring-tailed lemur twins, a new spider monkey, two critically endangered addax calves and a critically endangered Bongo calf were all welcomed into the world last year.
The best time to view the ever-growing giraffe herd is in the mornings. They are very active during the daily giraffe encounter at 10am and whilst the calves aren't participating in this activity yet, the older ones regularly come for a closer look.
In addition to visiting the giraffe, guests can learn more about the plight of the gentle giants in the wild by tuning into a virtual keeper talk.
Giraffe numbers have been declining in the wild over the past decade due to habitat encroachment, snares, civil unrest and poaching. The wild population is estimated at less than 117,000, a decline of 40 per cent over 30 years.
Visitors to the zoo can make a difference for the giraffe and other species in Northern Kenya simply by purchasing beaded giftware from the Beads for Wildlife range in the zoo shop. More than 800 women from communities across Northern Kenya handmake the traditional Kenyan beadworks which provides an alternative income to support local communities and lessen their reliance on environmentally damaging livestock.
The bead sales help Taronga to support the Northern Rangeland Trust to improve wildlife security in animal populations including giraffe.
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