Rare gi­raffes on New Year’s Eve, one sur­vives


New Year’s Eve de­light was tinged with sad­ness for Auck­land Zoo staff after they wel­comed ex­tremely rare twin gi­raffes.

One of the pre­ma­turely born twins, a male, had to be eu­thanised on Mon­day.

He couldn’t suckle or func­tion in­de­pen­dently and did not form a bond with mum Ki­raka.

Mam­mal cu­ra­tor War­ren Spencer said that de­spite the ‘‘great ef­forts of all in­volved, the male’s post-birth com­pli­ca­tions be­came un­treat­able.’’

‘‘We took the very dif­fi­cult de­ci­sion on wel­fare grounds to eu­thanise the young male,’’ Spencer added.

After preg­nan­cies of 15 months, gi­raffes are born by drop­ping more than two me­tres with the mother stand­ing up.

They’re usu­ally able to stand up and nurse within 30 min­utes after birth, but the male was un­able to do this.

De­spite be­ing born about 12 days pre­ma­turely, things are look­ing bet­ter for the fe­male calf with her seven-year-old mother Ki­raka, Spencer said.

‘‘She has de­vel­oped a strong bond with her mother.

‘‘And we are op­ti­mistic for the days ahead.’’

Twin gi­raffe births are ex­tremely rare with a lit­tle over 30 doc­u­mented cases world­wide, Auck­land Zoo said.

The zoo now has two male and three fe­male gi­raffes.


Auck­land Zoo’s Nat Sul­li­van with one of two new­born gi­raffes. The fe­male new­born gi­raffe sur­vived but the male had to be put down.

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