20 March 2019

The six-foot-tall newcomer held his head high as he made his first public appearance, venturing out with the rest of the herd including parents Dagmar and Meru.

The birth of the calf was captured by the zoo’s CCTV on Tuesday 5 March and the calf spent the first few weeks of his life indoors as he spent time forging important close bonds with his mum.Zookeepers have named the new arrival ‘Mburo’ after an area of western Uganda which the zoo’s field conservation partners, The Giraffe Conservation Foundation, first translocated a group of Rothschild’s giraffes to – a vital conservation move to boost then dwindling giraffe numbers.

 

 

Sarah Roffe, Giraffes Team Manager at the zoo, said:

 

Since being born just two weeks ago, Mburo has been spending lots of quality time with mum Dagmar and the rest of the herd. Now he’s really found his feet and his confidence is coming on leaps and bounds – his little personality is really starting to shine through. To see a young Rothschild’s giraffe calf strutting his stuff is really quite special – a real privilege when you consider that fewer than 2,650 remain in the wild. For many years they have been experiencing a silent extinction and it’s important that we help raise awareness of their plight and continue to help boost numbers in the international breeding programme, as well as assist with conservation efforts in Africa.

Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the world’s most at-risk mammals but recent news from Africa offers hope. It has been revealed that numbers are slowly increasing in Kidepo Valley and Murchison Falls National Parks.

Sarah added:

Whilst it’s incredibly positive news that numbers in the wild are slowly increasing, the tiny Rothschild’s giraffe populations in the wild are extremely fragile and must be carefully monitored to ensure their continued survival. Our experts have worked in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda for a number of years helping to protect, monitor and track the population – so it’s an incredible feeling to know we’ve played an essential role in the beginning of their recovery.

Conservationists at Chester are working with partners The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Uganda Wildlife Foundation (UWA) to protect the last remaining wild populations of Rothchild’s giraffes in Africa.

Rothschild’s giraffe facts:

  • Mum Dagmar is twelve years old. She has previously given birth to two other calves at Chester Zoo, Kanzi and Sanyu
  • Dad Meru is eight years old
  • Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the most endangered of the nine sub-species of giraffe
  • They are named after zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild, founder of the National History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire
  • The species is identified by its broader dividing white lines and has no spots beneath the knees
  • Estimates suggest that less than 2,650 Rothschild’s giraffes remain in the wild
  • 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
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