CUMBERLAND, Ohio (WCMH) — The Wilds is celebrating the birth of a Masai giraffe calf early Friday morning out in the pasture.
Staff at The Wilds continues to monitor the calf, whose sex is currently unknown and notes the calf appears strong and is staying close to its mother Savannah.
The calf’s father Raha came to The Wilds 10 years ago from the Los Angeles Zoo. Savannah was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in August 2003 and has lived at The Wilds since 2004.
The new calf is Savannah’s fifth and Raha’s seventh.
Calves are born after a gestation period of approximately 15 months. The mother gives birth standing up, and within a few hours of birth, calves can stand and run on their own.
Male giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are between 13 and 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and are the largest ruminants.
The Masai giraffe is listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, changing from “vunerable” just over a month ago.
“The birth of rare species is always exciting, and with the recent news about the conservation status of Masai giraffe now listed as endangered, the birth of this calf is extra special,” said Dr. Jan Ramer, vice president of The Wilds.
The population of the giraffe subspecies is estimated to have dropped by 50 percent over the last 30 years due to habitat degradation and poaching.
There are now only approximately 35,000 Masai giraffe remaining in their native ranges in southern Kenya and north and central Tanzania.
In an effort to reduce threats to giraffes, the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium and The Wilds support several conservation projects in giraffe range countries across Africa, including Wild Nature Institute’s Serengeti Giraffe Conservation Research project based in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, the Giraffe Research and Conservation Trust in Kenya, and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia and Uganda, as well as provide support for a giraffe specific initiative through the Hirola Conservation Programme in Kenya.