(Wilds Press Release)
Cumberland, OH – The Wilds is proud to announce the birth of a male Masai giraffe calf. The calf was born in the pasture during the late afternoon of July 10 and appears to be healthy. The birth was also visible to guests on an Open-Air Safari Tour at The Wilds, providing for an unforgettable experience. The Wilds animal care staff noted that the calf is strong and staying close to his mother. The Animal Care team at The Wilds will continue to monitor the young calf’s development and health over the coming weeks.
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 calf. 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.
The calf may be visible to guests on both Wildside and Open-Air Safari Tours; however, the calf and his mother will remain under the watchful eye of The Wilds staff.
“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 ICUN Red List of Threatened Species™, primarily 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 the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust in Kenya, and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and Uganda.
Calves are born after a gestation period of approximately 15 months. The mother gives birth standing up, and within a few hours of birth, calves can stand and run on their own.
Male giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are between 13 and 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and are the largest ruminants. Their native ranges are savannas, grasslands or open woodlands in central and southern African countries.