PHOTOS: Baby Animals from Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Come enjoy the baby animal cuteness from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia.

Black rhino calf running

Rompin’ rhino! This black rhino calf, named Mesi, was born in April and has only recently gone on public display with her mom. Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Two baby giraffes

Mirror image: The two giraffe calves, born 1 week apart, check each other out. [Read more about Zuberi and Kibo.] Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Baby hippo and mom

Kendi, a three-month-old hippo calf, soaks up the sun with her mom. Photo by Rick Stevens, Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

You can learn facts about these animals in our articles: Giraffe and Hippopotamus.

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Seeing Double: Two Baby Giraffes Born at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, Australia is doubly pleased to announce the birth of two baby giraffes- born just one week apart!

The first calf has been named Zuberi, which means “strong” in Swahili. He was born in the exhibit around noon on August 8.

Giraffe calf and his mother at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

According to zookeeper Pascale Benoit, “It was a smooth delivery and was followed by a number of giraffes in the herd getting up close to meet the new calf within moments of its arrival. They were a great support for experienced mother, Asmara, helping her to lick her new calf and encouraging him to stand.”

The second calf arrived on August 15 in the middle of the night. He has been named Kibo, which means “the highest”.

Baby giraffe at Taronga Western Plains Zoo

Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

“Both pairs of mother and calf are doing very well, and have integrated nicely back into
the herd,” Pascale said.

Two giraffe calves

Photo courtesy of Taronga Western Plains Zoo.

Learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts article.

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Giraffes Now Vulnerable of Extinction

Giraffe

Film still from “Last of the Longnecks.” Courtesy of Iniosante Studios.

The IUCN has recently reclassified giraffes from a species of least concern to one vulnerable of extinction. Giraffe populations in Africa have declined 40% since 1985. All nine subspecies of giraffe are officially in trouble.

Iniosante Studios has spent the last three years documenting the situation in their film, “Last of the Longnecks,” which has helped bring global awareness to the plight of giraffes and instigated a reclassification by the IUCN. To obtain accurate figures for the IUCN, more than a dozen researchers combed the savannas in trucks, wandered trails on foot, flown in aircraft, and studied remote cameras.

“We’ve been working alongside the researchers in our film for the past three years to sound the alarm,” said Ashley Scott Davison, the film’s director. “Until recently, few people were even aware of the situation facing giraffes. This reclassification by the IUCN is pivotal to get the public to take action for our planet’s tallest animal.”

Watch a trailer of “Last of the Longnecks” below:

To learn more, see the website for “Last of the Longnecks.”

To learn more about giraffes, read our giraffe facts article.

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Did You Eat Your Dirt Today?

Giraffe spitting dust

A giraffe spits dust after eating dirt. Photo by Marie-France Grenouillet.

Wildlife photographer Marie-France Grenouillet captured this spectacular photo of a giraffe spitting dust out after eating soil in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania.

The act of eating soil, clay and dirt, called geophagy, is extremely common in mammals, especially in herbivores. Giraffes eat soil in order to take in minerals such as salt, copper, iron and zinc.  The clay also acts as a medicine by binding fungal toxins, internal toxins, toxic chemicals, and bacteria.

View more fantastic wildlife photos at her website.

You can learn more about giraffes at our giraffe facts article.

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Scientists Finally Discover What Sound the Giraffe Makes

GiraffeCow goes moo. Frog goes croak. Giraffe goes…. hmm?

Zookeepers have always assumed giraffes were fairly silent creatures, with the occasional snort thrown in. The assumption was that their long necks restricted their ability to make sounds, and also that being noisy would attract predators.

But researchers from the University of Vienna challenged this assumption. After recording and studying 938 hours of giraffe sounds over an eight year period, the scientists have discovered that in fact giraffes do make sounds. They make low-pitched humming sounds at night.

Listen here:

Learn more about giraffe sounds and the new research at Wired.com.

Discover more giraffe facts at our giraffe article.

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VIDEO: Baby Giraffe’s Boisterous Debut

Three-week-old Kipenzi, a giraffe calf at the Dallas Zoo, made her grand entrance on Friday to the delight of zoo visitors.

Watch a video of the little giraffe bounding around in circles:

“Kipenzi” is a Swahili word meaning “loved one” – a fitting description for this adorable baby. Her birth on April 10 was viewed in real time via video feed by millions of people through a partnership with Animal Planet.

To learn more about Kipenzi, visit the Dallas Zoo website.

Learn more giraffe facts at our giraffe page.

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Featured Animal: Giraffe

Meet our featured animal: the giraffe!

Giraffe

Here are five fun facts about giraffes:

  • At an average height of around 5 m (16-18 ft.), the giraffe is the tallest land animal in the world.
  • Many people first believed the giraffe was a cross between a leopard and a camel, which is reflected in its scientific name, Giraffa camelopardalis.
  • Giraffes have long tongues which help them pull leaves from trees.
  • Both male and female giraffes have skin-covered knobs, called ossicones, on the top of their heads. Male ossicones are bald at the top, while female ossicones have tufts of fur.
  • When giraffes walk, they move both legs on one side of their body and then both legs on the other side; this is unique to giraffes. However, they run in a similar style to other mammals, swinging their rear legs and front legs in unison.

Learn more at our giraffe facts page!

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Memphis Zoo Announces Baby Giraffe

Baby giraffe

Baby giraffe, Tamu Massif, arrived on May 16 at the Memphis Zoo. Photo by Caitlin Miller. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

Excitement continues at the Memphis Zoo with the birth of a baby reticulated giraffe on May 16.  The male giraffe calf, named Tamu Massif (tam-MOO mah-SEEF), weighs 150 pounds.  He is the fifth calf for mother Marilyn.

“Tamu is doing incredibly well,” says Matt Thompson, Director of Animal Programs. “He’s happy and healthy. Marilyn is a great, experienced mother, so she’s taking this all in stride.”

The giraffe’s name means “sweet giant”. It is also the name of a dormant, underwater volcano in the Pacific Ocean.

Baby giraffe

Tamu explores his surroundings as other members of the herd look on. Photo by Caitlin Miller. Courtesy of Memphis Zoo.

To learn more about the baby giraffe, visit the Memphis Zoo’s website. You can learn more about giraffes at Animal Fact Guide’s giraffe facts page.

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Baby Giraffes at Busch Gardens

Busch Gardens experienced a baby boom this spring!

Giraffe babies at Busch Gardens.

Three giraffe calves were born in March to mothers Bititi, Tequiza and Celina at Busch Gardens. Photo by Busch Gardens.

There were three reticulated giraffes born on March 12, 14, and 18 to mothers Bititi, Tequiza, and Celina.  At birth, the two female calves were 5 feet 6 inches tall and weighed over 100 pounds.  The male calf was more than 6 feet tall and weighed nearly 150 pounds! The females will eventually grow to be about 16 feet tall, and the male will be 18 feet tall. (Giraffes are the tallest mammals on earth!)

Within an hour of being born, all the calves were standing up. And within two hours, they were all nursing!  For now, the babies will reside behind-the-scenes, but in the coming weeks they will be on view on Busch Gardens’ Serengeti Plain.

For more information, visit the Busch Gardens website.

To learn more about giraffes, visit our giraffe facts page.

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