Two rare baby giraffe calves born just hours apart
Two babies within hours
Two endangered Rothschild’s giraffe calves have been born just hours apart and it is the first time in Woburn’s history that two giraffe calves have been born in such short succession of each other.
The first healthy calf was born to experienced 13-year old mother Danica in the brand new giraffe house on the Road Safari, in the early hours of the morning on Sunday 25th June. Just 32 hours later, six-year old Lindsay gave birth to her first baby calf at lunch time. The arrival of the as-yet unsexed and unnamed calves comes just weeks after the birth of an adorable male calf named Arrow (after the coat of arms from the Rothschild’s family).
Protecting the species
Rothschild’s giraffes are classified as ‘Endangered’ by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature) and are amongst the rarest mammals in the world. There are now thought to be less than 1,600 individuals remaining in the wild, and they are restricted to a few isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda. The new arrivals mark an important achievement for the Park as well as for the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP).
Lindsay Banks, Senior Keeper at Woburn Safari Park said: “We feel very lucky to have had the birth of two new calves, which is unusual in such a short space of time. The rest of the herd have naturally taken an interest in the new youngsters and the calves are already spending a lot of time with each other and Arrow, who was born in May. Over the next few weeks they will be doing a lot of sleeping, feeding, playing and exploring the yard and the main reserve.”
Giraffe at Woburn remain together with the herd during pregnancy and birthing, and keepers give individuals the choice of where and how they calve, noting that they seem more settled and take reassurance from their strong maternal and sibling bonds within the social group.
A recent genetic study has revealed that there are four distinct species of giraffe (not just one); the Northern, Southern, Masai and Reticulated giraffe. There are 15 Rothschild’s (also known as Nubian) giraffes at Woburn Safari Park, part of the Northern giraffe species. The Northern giraffe, as a distinct species, is one of the most endangered large mammals in the world (according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation), and therefore a significant priority for conservation.