Babies walk tall at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo
Tuesday 19 August 2008
Not one, but two statuesque baby animals are bringing excitement at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.
Keepers have been celebrating the leggy arrival of both a giraffe calf and rare wild horse foal.
The long-awaited male giraffe calf, standing just under 6ft tall, made his arrival just a week ago but is already proving a sturdy and curious newcomer, taking a look around outside his stable.
He was born to mother Savannah, her second calf, early on Thursday July 10th, after a 15-month pregnancy.
Team Leader Cliff Tack said: “We are delighted to have another giraffe calf here at Whipsnade and his birth is very important for the European breeding programme. He is a very lively character too and his mother is coping very well.”
Nearby, a rare Przewalski’s foal, who has been named Ula by her keepers, is enjoying bounding around her paddock in the ‘Asia Drive Through’. She was born three weeks ago to mother Jane and father Nicky.
Last year Nicky was introduced to the ladies-only group and it was hoped he would choose a mate. The happy event proved he managed to win over Jane.
Did you know?
- Giraffes are the tallest land animal in the world
- Giraffes were originally thought to be a cross between a camel and a leopard, hence the Latin name, Giraffa camelopardalis
- The long, prehensile, muscular tongue of the giraffe can be extended up to 18 inches.
- Giraffes can run at speeds up to 35 mph.
- Przewalski’s horses are the only breed of wild horse still in existence and are originally from Mongolia.
- They were first discovered by Russian Colonel Nikolai Przewalski in 1879.
- Breeding Przewalski’s horse has a strong history at Whipsnade in recent years and in 2001 a horse bred at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Priscilla, was reintroduced to Mongolia.
- They are now officially classified as ‘critically endangered’ on the Mongolian red list of threatened species, having previously been classified as ‘extinct in the wild’.
Watch this special video to find out more about the new baby giraffe at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.