A newborn baby giraffe has already captured the hearts of the team at Altina Wildlife Park, who welcomed the calf into the world last week.
At 1.8 metres tall and weighing in at around 100 kilograms Altina’s senior animal keeper Rebecca Surian said their newest addition Zawadi, which means ‘gift’ in Swahili, had been eagerly awaited.
It is only the second giraffe calf Altina has welcomed since the zoo’s opening, and while many missed the magic moment last time – they were all there for the action this time around.
“We were all really excited, some of us were screaming,” Mrs Surian said on Thursday.
“We were fortunate enough to see the baby come to the ground, he fell at 12 ‘o’ clock on the dot.”
With mother Munzi pregnant for the past 15 months, Mrs Surian said it had been a long wait to welcome little Zawadi, who came into the world with a bang.
“She gives birth standing up, so the baby has to fall two metres to the ground,” Mrs Surian said.
“It is a real welcome to the world.”
Mrs Surain said the calf’s mother Munzi was doing well and had taken to motherhood easily.
“She is very relaxed and has been lovely, doing everything right,” she said.
“She cleaned him up straight away and he was standing within an hour and drinking.”
In a mark of the special bond between Altina’s keepers and their animals Munzi even let Mrs Surian close enough to meet her baby within just four hours of the birth.
“I guess it is because she trusts us, I was just introducing myself and we don’t overdo it because we want them to still have their wild characteristics – they are happier that way,” she said.
News of the birth of the new male isn’t only fantastic for the local zoo, but for conservation efforts and breeding programs across Australasia, who are suffering from a shortage of male giraffes.
“It is just nice we are doing something for the program and conservation,” Mrs Surian said. “It makes our very demanding job extremely rewarding.”
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