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It Could Be Neck And Neck For Zoo Giraffes

May 10, 2002

It Could Be Neck And Neck For Zoo Giraffes Kiri & Kay

Auckland Zoo giraffe Kay’s suspected pregnancy has now been confirmed thanks to a comprehensive series of faecal tests carried out by staff at Ruakura AgResearch Centre.

High levels of progestin, along with increasing weight gain, leave no doubt that the 15-year-old is carrying, just like her 17-year old female companion Kiri. Kiri’s pregnancy was confirmed in February through an ultra-sound, a procedure Kay is not yet sufficiently ‘conditioned’ to undergo.

Exactly how far on in their approximately 15-month pregnancy is a little harder to pin down, but it’s possible they may not be too far apart. Late this year or early 2003 is as specific as staff can get at this stage.

Kay, who now weighs 738kg, has put on a healthy 140 kg since last August – and it was at this time staff noticed behaviour between Kay and young male giraffe Zabulu associated with mating.

“We didn’t actually see either females mating, but that’s not uncommon. Giraffes like to mate in private, and do so very quickly,” says senior Zoo keeper Sam Stephens.

“Not enough faecal progestin analysis has been done either for us to be able to obtain more specific detail about how far advanced our giraffes might be.”

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