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Auckland Zoo welcomes lively leggy newcomer


13 January 2006

Auckland Zoo welcomes lively leggy newcomer

Fifth-time round has proved to be the easiest for Auckland Zoo giraffe mum Kay, who has delivered a healthy, super-confident five foot-plus male.

Born on 4 January, Dume (Kenyan for "bull" and pronounced du-may) was standing tall within 15 minutes of being born, and running within an hour of birth. Zookeepers say the newborn calf is already "strutting around like he owns the place", and like his mum, is extremely relaxed about life.

Dume, who keepers estimate weighed approximately 50kg when born, is the fifth son to 20-year-old Kay, and her third off-spring to male Zabulu. Kay, who was born at Auckland Zoo, first became a mum in 1991.

"Kay has been extremely relaxed throughout her pregnancy, and was certainly very laid back about this birth, even allowing us to hand-feed her during the hour that she took to give birth," says Auckland Zoo Pridelands keeper, Nat Sullivan.

"It's likely her relaxed state has positively affected Dume, who at this stage of just a week old, is certainly the most confident and boisterous of all her off-spring, and quite happy to wander off from his mother," says Nat.

Mother and son will be integrated with the other giraffe, zebra, and ostrich in the giraffe paddock in Pridelands within the next couple of weeks. Kay and Dume will however, be going out into this paddock for short periods each morning on their own - so morning visitors may get to see them.

Auckland Zoo is now home to two female and two male giraffes, all of whom are part of the Australasian region's giraffe breeding programme.

Fact file:

Home address: Plains south of the Sahara, Africa

Conservation status: Conservation dependant

Diet: mother's milk for the first six months. Newborns also start eating browse and hay within weeks, and Dume is already doing so.

Skyscrapers: a male giraffe can grow up to 6 metres

No coat the same: every giraffe's goat is different. Males always have a dark coat, which deepens with age.


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