Three giraffes were recently born at three separate locations across Ohio. Plan your visits to the Toledo Zoo & Aquarium, The Wilds and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo to see these long-neck youngsters.
The current giraffe population globally is estimated to be less than 80,000. Their numbers are declining across Africa—the population has decreased by nearly 40% in the last 15 years. The Future for Wildlife Fund helps protect giraffes by addressing poaching and illegal snaring, translocating animals to secure endangered populations, and also conducting studies on population and disease. Giraffes are listed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as a vulnerable species with declining population due to four main causes: habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting/poaching and ecological changes.
Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are the tallest land mammals, standing 14-18 feet tall as adults. There are nine recognized sub-species of giraffes from all across southern and eastern Africa. Each giraffe has a unique spot pattern, but giraffes from the same geographical area appear similar.
Giraffes typically give birth standing up. The offspring are known as calves and are born front feet and head first. The calf takes a dramatic but not harmful six foot fall (approximately) to the ground, causing it to take in a big deep breath. After about an hour the calf can walk and nurse. It’ll begin eating vegetation at around one week old.
In the wild, until the calf is old enough to join the tower, it is hidden in vegetation to protect it from predators. When the calf finally joins the group, all the females will take turns looking after the offspring while the mother feeds. This not only helps the calf to develop physically standing up but also to socialize it while in the safety of the group. The calf will continue to nurse until six to nine months of age.
The Toledo Zoo & Aquarium welcomed into the world a new female Masai giraffe, born in the late afternoon hours of Thursday, September 21, 2017. The new female, named Binti which means daughter in Swahili, weighs 134 pounds and stands approximately six feet two inches tall. Both mother, Tuli and Binti are doing well and bonding off exhibit. The new family will remain off exhibit until examined and cleared for debut by Zoo veterinarians and animal care staff. Once on exhibit, Binti will join Tuli, Elli, Charlotte, Bahati, Trevor and Kipenzi along with zebras, wildebeests, kudus, warthogs and more in the Africa! exhibit on the North Side of the Zoo.
The Wilds also recently announced the birth of a Masai giraffe calf. The male calf was born during the afternoon of Saturday, August 5, 2017 and was up and nursing within four hours. The Wilds animal care staff noted that the calf is strong, tall and dark in coloration like its father. The Animal Management team at The Wilds has named the calf Fenny in honor of Dr. Julian Fennessy, the co-founder and co-director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, an organization to which The Wilds and the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium has provided support. Guests on Wildside Tours and Open-Air Safari Tours may see the calf during their visit to The Wilds.
Cleveland Metroparks Zoo announced that their new African Masai giraffe calf was named Zawadi. Zawadi continues to thrive since his birth on August 6, 2017, and has gained more than 50 pounds and grown about a foot. He now weighs more than 210 pounds and stands more than 7 feet tall. He has been enjoying time with his mother, Jhasmin, and the rest of the herd at the Ben Gogolick Giraffe Encounter. The habitat offers guests the opportunity to handfeed giraffes and learn more about giraffe conservation.
And that’s the long and short of it!