At just four weeks old, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo’s newest arrival is already standing tall – at almost six feet!
The reticulated giraffe, a baby girl, was born to proud parents, Savannah and Uno, at 8.30am on 13 November. Thrilled zookeepers arrived just in time to see the calf take her first wobbly steps an hour after birth, and start to suckle soon after that.
Zookeeper Cassie Taylor said: “Savannah was born at Whipsnade 12 years ago, so it’s fantastic to see her as a mum herself now, and even more special that we were able to see the calf’s very first moments.
“It’s Savannah’s third calf and she’s taken motherhood all in her rather long stride – the new arrival is settling in well, and is already showing signs of mum’s calm nature as well as dad’s inquisitiveness.”
The female calf has been named Willow, a name selected by her keepers from a long list suggested by members of the public. The calf, who will be named by Zoo visitors, has spent the first few weeks getting to grips with her long legs as she explores her new home – the Zoo’s brand new Giraffe Heights enclosure.
Unveiled in October, it includes a revamped barn to keep the new arrival extra warm and snug, and a nine-foot-high viewing platform which brings visitors face-to-face with Whipsnade’s giraffes for the very first time.
Over the next few weeks, the calf will slowly be introduced to the rest of the herd who share Giraffe Heights, including half-brother Jengo, aged one, and aunties, Ijuma and Ina.