Australia Zoo has welcomed two adorable new members of our giraffe herd. Both boys, one named Tallbert and another named Hunter.
Rosie gave birth to Tallbert to 30th June, and Penny gave birth Hunter on 14th August.
"After almost 15 months of pregnancy, both labours were surprisingly short, just over an hour," said Giraffe Keeper, Kat Hansen.
When born, the calves stand just under 2m (6.5ft) in height, and weigh approximately 50kg (110lbs). After around 30 minutes, the newborn calves were attempting to stand, which is always a challenge, but is essential for avoiding predators in the wild.
Tallbert hasn't had the easiest start to life. "When he was born, we noticed his legs were hyperextended, and our veterinarians were understandably concerned. We've monitored him 24 hours a day, and are pleased to share that his legs are have corrected themselves, and we expect him to have a long and happy life with no long-term issues with his legs."
The two new calves take Australia Zoo's total to thirteen in total, a wonderful achievement for a species doing it tough in the wild. "Giraffe are vulnerable to extinction, with populations rapidly declining and widespread across the African continent," said Kat. "Habitat loss and hunting are threatening the world's tallest animal, which is why our herd is so important in educating the public on conserving these iconic animals."
Since 2018, Australia Zoo Wildlife Warriors has been funding the work of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit in South Africa. "The women of the Black Mamba Anti-Poaching Unit are so inspirational," shared Kat, "I've been lucky enough to see their work firsthand. You wouldn't think about giraffes being poached as bushmeat, but snares are specifically set high in the trees to capture and kill them, this is why programs like the Black Mambas are so important."
Tallbert and his mother, Rosie, have started exploring our African savannah with the rest of the giraffe herd, while Penny and her calf spend some quiet time together. The calves share the Savannah with their father, Forest, who was recently named the World's Tallest Living Giraffe by Guinness World Records.
The savannah is the only enclosure of its kind in Queensland, and is also home to a breeding population of white rhinoceros, zebras, cheetah and meerkats.