Adelaide Zoo

Giraffe calf arrives at Adelaide Zoo

Adelaide Zoo has a new long-legged arrival!

Yesterday, Monarto Safari Park welcomed its fifth calf within a year to 17-year-old Thula.

While initial signs of bonding between mum and bub were promising, it was apparent this morning that the calf had not been fed by his mum and the decision was made to hand raise the calf at Adelaide Zoo.

Senior Keeper of Ungulates, Mark Mills, said while the male calf looked healthy, it is vital a newborn receives nutrients from its mother within the first 48 hours.

“Our keeping team monitored him after birth and he looked healthy and strong but unfortunately Thula had not fed him by this morning,” he said.

“Over the weekend we have extremely hot weather forecast, and it was crucial that we made a quick and timely decision to give the little guy every opportunity for a successful long-term outcome.

“Thula has mis-mothered calves previously, but we have had a number of successful outcomes over the past year with the giraffe in this herd. We wanted to give her another chance to be a mum.

“While it is disappointing that she hasn’t raised this calf, any birth is significant for this vulnerable species.

“We know that he will be well loved at Adelaide Zoo and we hope he will inspire more visitors to love giraffes and learn more about their conservation in the wild.”

After further discussion between the veterinary team and keepers across both sites, the decision was made for the calf to be raised to Adelaide Zoo.

After loading the leggy lad into a trailer, he was carefully driven down the hill to the zoo and moved into the giraffe house to begin hand feeding with keepers.

Adelaide Zoo Curator, Deb Barry, said the move went smoothly and the calf was doing really well.

“He is such a handsome little giraffe and we’re so excited to have him here at Adelaide Zoo,” she said.

“Our keepers will be monitoring him around the clock and begin feeding him with the important nutrients he needs as a newborn.

“Our two female giraffe, Kimya and Nolean, were very curious and interested in their new friend and it is lovely because he is Nolean’s full brother, born to the same parents.”

The calf will not be visible to the public for at least a couple of weeks as he settles in and is monitored by keepers.

As the calf is a male, future plans for if he will stay at Adelaide Zoo will be determined in consultation with the national giraffe species coordinator.

Zoos SA will announce naming details in the coming weeks.

While many people believe the giraffe species is safe, the International Union of Conservation (IUCN) has classified the giraffe species as vulnerable to extinction.

Both Monarto Safari Park and Adelaide Zoo offer giraffe experiences suitable for all ages. These close-up encounters give animal lovers a chance to hand feed a giraffe or two.

It is experiences like these that help to build an interest in the future of species and to invest in saving them from extinction.

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