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01 07/01/2015

Baby giraffe Zahra stretches her long legs!

Our latest new arrival

  • New arrivals
  • Mammals
  • Giraffes

Our latest new arrival is walking tall as she takes her first steps outside.

Baby giraffe

The 6ft (1.8m) calf, which keepers have named Zahra, was born just before Christmas.

Now, at just two-weeks-old, she has taken her first steps outside, alongside mum Aoife, dad Meru and rest of the herd. 

Curator of mammals at Chester Zoo, Tim Rowlands, said:

Not-so-little Zahra is already confident on her long legs.

Rothschild’s are one of the world’s most endangered subspecies of giraffe, with recent estimates suggesting less than 1,100 are left in the wild.

Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the species has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda. Their main threats come from loss of habitat and poaching for meat and hides.

On top of our successful breeding record, we've 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.

Baby giraffe Zahra

Rothschild’s giraffe facts

  • Mum Aoife was born on 1 March 1998. She is 16 years old
  • Dad is called Meru
  • The baby – a female named Zahra - was born at around 3am on Dec 23. She is Aoife’s second calf. Zahra means ‘flower’ in Swahili
  • Rothschild’s giraffe are named after zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild, founder of the National History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire
  • They are also known as the baringo or Ugandan giraffe
  • The species is identified by its broader dividing white lines and has no spots beneath the knees
  • Giraffe population figures are declining across Africa
  • Rothschild’s giraffes are classed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) with current population estimates suggesting less than 1,100 remain in the wild
  • With less than 1,100 individuals remaining in the wild the Rothschild's giraffe is more endangered than species such as African elephants and giant pandas
  • Roughly one-third of the surviving population of Rothschild’s giraffes live in zoos where carefully co-ordinated breeding programmes are creating a safety-net population for the species
  • Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s giraffe has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda
  • The main threat to the species now is loss of habitat and poaching for meat and hides
  • In the past, giraffes were hunted for their tails, which were used as good-luck charms, sewing thread and even fly swats
  • The species is one of the most endangered of the nine sub-species of giraffe
  • Chester Zoo now has eight Rothschild giraffes – Meru, Aoife, Dagma, Orla, Tula, Kanzi, Millie and Zahra 
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