Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 


Giraffes Kiri (And Very Likely Kay) In The Family

Giraffes Kiri (And Very Likely Kay) In The Family Way

An ultra-sound has just confirmed Auckland Zoo’s eldest female giraffe Kiri, is pregnant.

But the 17-year-old may not be alone. It is thought Kay, who is two years her junior, and has put on 90kg in the past six months, might also have a young calf on the way.

Dad, on both counts, is four-year-old Zabulu, the Zoo’s only male giraffe. With the girls progressing in years and Zabulu only recently matured, natural conception was considered a long shot.

Giraffes have a 15-month gestation period. It is estimated Kiri will give birth in early 2003. Kay, who’s likely pregnancy will be confirmed through a faecal test, could be due earlier. The expected birth weight for these new-born is 60-100kg, and their height about 2 metres. They need to be this tall to be able to reach up and suckle from their mothers. (Kiri and Kay both stand over 4 metres)

Zoo staff are delighted, but also a little surprised.

Senior zookeeper Sam Stephens has for the past four years worked with keeper Robert McIntyre on a ‘conditioning’ programme developed as a way of preparing the female giraffes for possible artificial insemination (AI).

“We’ve been investigating AI for some years now. AI is a very good way to assist the genetic diversity of giraffes in captivity. Obviously from a practical point of view collecting and transporting sperm is also far easier and safer than transporting giraffes, which are notoriously difficult animals to move about,” says Sam Stephens.

“Because of their size and temperament, only young giraffes can be transported.”

A key part of the daily conditioning programme has involved placing the females in the giraffe crush. This has enabled the animals to get used to a confined space, and in Kiri’s case, to work up to also having a full internal physical examination. Mock camera and ultra-sound equipment (a silver-painted cardboard box) have also been placed in the crush, and different people have been regularly introduced to prepare the giraffes for how it would be for an actual AI procedure.

“Because giraffes are so easily stressed, the key is to have everything as close to the real situation as possible.

“Kay is a difficult customer, and is not yet able to be examined internally. But we have achieved this with Kiri. And it’s because we have got her to this relaxed stage that we were able to do the ultra-sound yesterday, and confirm her pregnancy,” says Sam.

One more ultra-sound on Kiri will be carried out in a month’s time to monitor her progress. Kiri and Kay, who have both had successful pregnancies in the past, will also continue to be weighed fortnightly.

A high-energy diet has also been important in preparing the giraffes for pregnancy.
They are given a combination of plenty of quality browse (tree branches), a high-energy concentrate pellet feed and lucerne hay. “Puka browse is a particular favourite,” says Sam.

The young will be born with the female standing, her back legs bent to lessen the drop to the ground. In the process the umbilical cord snaps during the fall. Within an hour of birth the youngster stands and searches for its first feed.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

 

Sector Opposes Bill: Local Government Bill Timeframe Extended

The Minister of Local Government Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga has asked the Select Committee to extend the report back date for the Local Government Act 2002 Amendment Bill (No 2). More>>

ALSO:

Breed Laws Don’t Work: Vets On New National Dog Control Plan

It is pleasing therefore to see Louise Upston Associate Minister for Local Government calling for a comprehensive solution... However, relying on breed specific laws to manage dog aggression will not work. More>>

ALSO:

Not Waiting On Select Committee: Green Party Releases Medically-Assisted Dying Policy

“Adults with a terminal illness should have the right to choose a medically assisted death,” Green Party health spokesperson Kevin Hague said. “The Green Party does not support extending assisted dying to people who aren't terminally ill because we can’t be confident that this won't further marginalise the lives of people with disabilities." More>>

ALSO:

General Election Review: Changes To Electoral Act Introduced

More effective systems in polling places and earlier counting of advanced votes are on their way through proposed changes to our electoral laws, Justice Minister Amy Adams says. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Our Posturing At The UN

In New York, Key basically took an old May 2 Washington Post article written by Barack Obama, recycled it back to the Americans, and still scored headlines here at home… We’ve had a double serving of this kind of comfort food. More>>

ALSO:

Treaty Settlements: Bills Delayed As NZ First Pulls Support

Ngāruahine, Te Atiawa and Taranaki are reeling today as they learnt that the third and final readings of each Iwi’s Historical Treaty Settlement Bills scheduled for this Friday, have been put in jeopardy by the actions of NZ First. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Damage De-Regulation Is Doing To Fisheries And Education, Plus Kate Tempest

Our faith in the benign workings of the market – and of the light-handed regulation that goes with it – has had a body count. Back in 1992, the free market friendly Health Safety and Employment Act gutted the labour inspectorate and turned forestry, mining and other workplace sites into death traps, long before the Pike River disaster. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 

LATEST HEADLINES

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Regional
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news