Auck­land Zoo greets big baby

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By ELESHA ED­MONDS

The royal fam­ily are not the only ones cel­e­brat­ing the birth of a baby girl.

Auck­land Zoo has wel­comed a baby gi­raffe, who was born just af­ter 10pm on April 26.

The 1.8 me­tre fe­male is the sixth off­spring of 13-year-old gi­raffe Rukiya and 17-yearold dad Zab­ulu.

Auck­land Zoo Pride­lands team leader Nat Sul­li­van says her team was there to wit­ness the birth.

‘‘Rukiya took about an hour and a half to de­liver this lit­tle one, which is on a par with most gi­raffe de­liv­er­ies,’’ Sul­li­van says.

‘‘She’s such a fan­tas­tic mum, we re­ally couldn’t ask for bet­ter.

‘‘Her calf was walk­ing within half an hour, and has been suck­ling well.’’

Over her 14 years work­ing at the zoo, Sul­li­van has wit­nessed the births of 10 gi­raffes.

‘‘Even though I’ve seen many here over the years, to me it’s still one of the coolest things you can ever ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ she says.

The name of the new­born will be cho­sen by the Pride­lands team.

Sul­li­van says they are re­search­ing dif­fer­ent African names for the gi­raffe as well as look­ing for traits that sep­a­rate the new­born from the rest of the herd.

‘‘We look to see if they have a per­son­al­ity that comes out or some­thing phys­i­cally that stands out when they are born,’’ she says.

‘‘She’s po­ten­tially go­ing to be quite strong-willed.’’

Rukiya and her calf will be grad­u­ally in­te­grated with the rest of the herd in the gi­raffe pad­dock within the next month.

‘‘In the wild they will hide their calf away in long grass,’’ Sul­li­van says. ‘‘So we let them sim­u­late that for a while and let her tell us when she is ready.’’

Auck­land Zoo is also look­ing for­ward to the ar­rival of a new ele­phant, named Anjalee, who is cur­rently in quar­an­tine in Niue.

The 8-year-old fe­male Asian ele­phant is be­ing housed in a pur­pose-built en­clo­sure un­til biose­cu­rity of­fi­cials give her the all-clear.

Once she com­pletes her time in quar­an­tine, Anjalee will be trans­ported to Auck­land to be a com­pan­ion for the zoo’s ex­ist­ing ele­phant, Burma.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.