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Zoo welcomes leggy new addition

Zoo welcomes leggy new addition

Auckland Zoo has welcomed its second giraffe calf in less than four months, with a male calf born on Saturday 17 November.

Standing 1.8m and weighing a healthy 55kg, the newcomer shares the same father (Zabulu) as half-sister Ntombi, who was born in late July. The newborn is the second offspring of six-year-old mum Rukiya, whose first calf, born May 2006, did not survive.

The leggy young male has been nicknamed Forrest by zookeepers due to his having contracted tendons, which happened during birth. This condition, not uncommon in hoof stock, means ‘Forrest’ has been using his ankle joints to move around, rather than his hooves. His condition has continued to improve since birth and it is expected he will make a full recovery. The nickname refers to the movie Forrest Gump and lead character Forrest’s leg problems. Zookeepers will be choosing an appropriate African name in the coming weeks.

“Both mum and son are doing very well, and Forrest’s leg condition continues to improve in leaps and bounds each day,” says Auckland Zoo Pridelands keeper, Niki Walker.

“A giraffe born in the wild with contracted tendons would be unlikely to survive, so we are fortunate to be able to care for him here at the zoo and give him the best possible start.”

Forrest’s birth provides the region with a potentially valuable genetic stock for future breeding.

“This combination of parental bloodlines has provided a new genetic line for the region, which is always good news for future breeding opportunities,” says Ms Walker.

Mum and son will be gradually integrated with other giraffe, zebra and ostrich in the Pridelands giraffe paddock, and zoo visitors can expect to see them out and about strutting their stuff in the next few weeks.


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