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Wellington Zoo Giraffe baby has a great outlook

16 March 2005

Wellington Zoo Giraffe baby has a great outlook

Wellington Zoo will be bringing the Irish out of Africa this Thursday, Saint Patrick’s Day, when its newest Giraffe, Zahara, celebrates her first birthday.

Born on Saint Patrick’s Day last year to the Zoo’s two adult Giraffe, Tisa and Ricky, Zahara has grown to approximately 2.5 metres tall, but will only reach her full height at 6 or 7 years of age.

Zoo Keeper, Bob Bennett describes Zahara as “Still very babyish, she’ll chase the Keepers now and then”.

Zahara’s birth was described as “An absolute highlight” by Zoo staff one year ago. They will now celebrate her special day with a guest appearance from Life Education Trust’s, Harold the Giraffe as well as some of Zahara’s favourite foods; bananas and pears.

Touted a ‘friend’ of Zahara’s, Harold will be making a special appearance at 11:30am at the Giraffe Enclosure.

Bob describes Zahara as “Very similar to her Mum and Dad. She’s laid back and has a great outlook on life!”

One of 7 calves born to Tisa and Ricky, Zahara follows the likes of other calves Ndoki and Rukiya who now live at Zoos around New Zealand.

Zahara, however, is destined to remain at Wellington Zoo and it is hoped she will give birth herself one day through artificial insemination as part of a breeding programme designed to increase the range of blood lines among Giraffe in the Australasian Region Giraffe as a species are classed as lower risk conservation dependent.

An African mammal, Giraffe have a gestational period of 15 months and give birth standing up. Giraffe calves can stand within an hour of birth and are approximately 1.8 metres tall when born.

A part of Wellington Zoo’s vision to bring animals and people closer together to highlight conservation needs, Giraffe Encounters were developed last year as a means of seeing this vision come alive. During an Encounter, visitors can hand feed the Giraffe and assist with medical conditioning.

“We take visitors into the Giraffe enclosure to groom and feed the Giraffes so we can desensitise them in case we need to perform any medical procedures in future” says Bob.

Giraffe Encounters can be booked by calling Zoo Events on 04 389 3692 or emailing zooevents@wcc.govt.nz


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