It seems like it’s been a big year for newborns so far at the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Australia. In the evening of Monday, February 1st, they welcomed their second female giraffe calf of the year.
Zoofari guests got to witness this beautiful miracle during that evening’s behind the scenes tour. The guides of which were quick to alert the keepers who were overjoyed to discover the healthy, newborn giraffe. Keepers have decided to name the calf “Kito” which, means “Gem” in Swahili, and what a gem she is. Kito is mom Myzita’s first calf, she is showing all the correct maternal behavior and is expected to be a wonderful mother to this adorable baby.
“Kito is on exhibit with the rest of the herd including our other calf Nyah, born earlier this year,” said Giraffe Keeper Fiona Cameron.
“She is distinguishable from Nyah by her size and her lighter coloring. Over the coming weeks, Kito will become more confident and we’ll start to see the two calves run, play and explore together. We are still expecting more Giraffe calves to be born this year, which is really very exciting.”
Unfortunately, giraffe numbers in the wild have been decreasing over the past decade it is estimated less than 80,000 Giraffe remain in the wild. The 30% drop in numbers is directly due to poaching for bushmeat and also habitat encroachment by farmers, said a zoo spokesperson.
“Every birth for a species, such as the Giraffe, that are seeing a decline in wild populations is important, as it helps to insure against extinction,” Fiona continued.
“Through programs such as Beads for Wildlife, we aim to help animals such as the
Giraffe by providing communities in Kenya with alternate income sources so they don’t have to rely so much on the herds and grazing. Less livestock means less pressure on water and food for wildlife such as the Giraffe.”