Rare Giraffe Born at Connecticut Refuge, an Endangered Rothschild and It’s a Girl!

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Rothschild Giraffe

A rare endangered Rothschild Giraffe was born at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Connecticut Refuge.

Petal, a 6-year-old endangered Rothschild giraffe, gave birth to a female calf Friday, making it the first giraffe birth at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center.

This is Petal’s second baby calf and even though staff was present and available for any help Petal may have needed during the birthing process; she was able to do it all by herself with no help.

“She’s a great mom,” said Marcella Leone, founder and director of the center. “She was very proud, trying to show off her newborn.”

Petal cleaned the new baby calf with her 18-inch tongue, and within 30 minutes of birth, the rare giraffe was standing and nursing, Leone said.

“It’s really astonishing how a huge animal like that …how delicately and in such a nurturing way she approaches caring for her calf,” Leone added.

Rothschild giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis) are the most endangered subspecies of giraffes in the world. The giraffes were first named and described by Lord Walter Rothschild, a British zoologist following an expedition to East Africa in the early 1900s, the AP reported.

There are fewer than 670 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has classified the Rothschild giraffes as “Endangered.” These giraffes are facing a number of threats including traditional hunting, poaching for the tourist trade and habitat loss.

Rare Giraffe Born: First Time Standing

In the early morning hours on March 22nd at LEO Zoological Conservation Center, Petal, a 6 year old endangered Rothschild giraffe, began the early stages of labor. At 9.04am, after a relatively short labor, she gave birth to a healthy, female calf. Petal has bonded extremely well, was very attentive, and began nurturing her calf right away. Within 30 minutes of the birth, the calf was standing and nursing. Our new arrival was greeted by LEOZCC’s herd of giraffe who were eagerly watching the birth.

Following an average 15 month gestation period, mother giraffes give birth while standing. Her birth marks a huge milestone for the low impact conservation center. This calf is the first giraffe born at the facility and quite possibly the first in Connecticut’s history. The Rothschild giraffe, found in Africa, is classified as endangered on IUCN Red List and there are fewer than 670 left in the wild.

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