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A rare Rothschild’s giraffe has made her debut at Chester Zoo.
Rothschild’s are one of the world’s most endangered subspecies, with recent estimates suggesting less than 1,100 are left in the wild.
The 6ft (1.8m) calf was born in the lead up to Christmas to mum Aiofe and dad Meru. Keepers have named their lanky new arrival Zahra, meaning ‘flower’ in Swahili.
Curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands, said:
“Giraffes give birth standing up and the calves fall about 6ft - so they really do come down to Earth with a bump. But we’re happy to report that our new, not-so-little, youngster is doing well and is already confident on her long legs.
“Everyone at the zoo is thrilled with Zahra and she has really added to our Christmas and New Year celebrations.”
The zoo now has a herd of eight Rothschild giraffes.
Mr Rowlands added:
“Whilst it’s great that we have a nice herd here, in the wild this species really is under threat. Numbers are declining at a worrying rate due to a massive upsurge in poaching for their meat.
“So when people come here and see the likes of Zahra and see what magnificent animals Rothschild’s giraffes are, we really want them to stop and think about the plight of the species in the wild. Rothschild’s giraffes are of high conservation priority and the need for a concerted conservation effort has never been more urgent.”
On top of its successful breeding record, Chester Zoo has supported important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild’s giraffe. Its aim is to develop a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.
Right now conservation is critical. Species are under threat and so is the rich biodiversity of our planet. We won't stand back and we won't give up.
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