Auckland Zoo greets big baby
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.