Canberra’s National Zoo and Aquarium has welcomed the birth of a healthy baby female giraffe, bringing the total number of giraffes at the zoo to four.
Senior wildlife keeper Sophie Dentrinos said both mum and bub were doing well and the happy family of three are now on display in the zoo’s open range section.
“She has started to venture out into her enclosure with mum and is getting used to her surroundings. She’s very inquisitive and has been licking everything she can,” she said.
“It had been a long wait for keepers and staff as it was a 15-month long pregnancy but we are so excited that she is finally here.”
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Ms Dentrinos said parents Shaba and Mzungu represent a true love story in the animal world.
“Both Shaba and Mzungu arrived at the National Zoo and Aquarium in 2015 and Mzungu fell pregnant with older sister Kebibi within just two months,” she said. “Kebibi was born at the National Zoo and Aquarium and is now residing at Australia Zoo.”
Father Shaba, mother Mzungu and bachelor Humberkhali (Hummer) have all been named but the zoo is now calling on the public to come up with a name for the baby.
The National Zoo and Aquarium will be holding a naming competition at the giraffe family enclosure during the ACT school holidays where visitors will be able to submit their suggestions for the giraffe calf with a winner being chosen by zoo staff on 22 July.
The winner will not only win bragging rights but will also win a night at Jamala Wildlife Lodge.
The baby calf is vital for the endangered giraffe population around the world, with only an estimated 111,000 giraffes left in the wild.
It is believed that the total giraffe population suffered an estimated 40 per cent plummet due to habitat loss and human destruction over the last 30 years, causing the National Zoo and Aquarium to take part in an international breeding program for their survival.
The National Zoo and Aquarium celebrated World Giraffe Day on 21 June, an initiative created by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to draw awareness of the silent extinction that faces this species.
To assist the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in continuing their great conservation efforts, the National Zoo and Aquarium will be donating $6,000 plus donations left by visitors in tins around the Zoo.