Giraffe birth is double joy for keepers

The new baby giraffe born at Flamingo Land in August.
The new baby giraffe born at Flamingo Land in August.

We are pleased to announce that we have had a second giraffe calf born at Flamingo Land in 2015.

The young female was born on August 20, to parents Mylene, aged 6, and George, aged 8. She is the smallest calf that we have had here for a few years, so looks tiny compared to her parents.

Due to the weather being warm and fine, she was able to be let outdoors only a couple of days after her birth. She can be seen in the house next to the white rhinos, as this is our breeding group of Rothschild giraffe. Also living in the group is the female calf born earlier this year in March and her mum, Lizzy. We have a second group of giraffes, however they are not a breeding group. They can be found sharing the paddock with zebra and ostrich.

Female giraffes are pregnant for 15 months and the new born calf had a six foot drop to the ground, as giraffes give birth standing up. She is already around five feet tall and will grow up to another two metres by the time she’s one.

Adult giraffes are between five and six metres tall, with males generally taller. Coat patterns in the nine sub-species of giraffe can be quite variable but Rothschild’s giraffes can usually be recognised by the lack of any markings on the lower part of their legs. A young giraffe will be weaned at about a year old but will stay with its mother for almost two years.

Giraffes are found in African savannah, open woodland (particularly acacia, which is their preferred food) and grassland. They use their tongue to tear leaves from trees and can eat more than 100kg of leaves in a day. They get most of the moisture they need from their diet but will drink water every couple of days if it’s available.

Giraffes are quite sociable animals and form herds, although membership of a herd is always changing as individuals move about. Generally each breeding herd would only have one adult male with young immature males forming a bachelor herd.

Rothschild’s giraffes are endangered due to habitat loss and poaching. In the past giraffes were often killed for their tails, which were used to make fly swats, good luck charms and thread for sewing.