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Three baby giraffes born within eight days

Monday, 13 July 2015

The birth of a giraffe is not very exceptional in our park as we are Europe’s largest breeder of Rothschild giraffes. On average five baby giraffes see the light of day every year which makes Burgers’ Zoo Europe’s main supplier within the breeding program of this in the wild seriously endangered kind of giraffes. But three baby giraffes being born within eight days is even for us a very special event.

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Giraffe give birth while standing up

Giraffe give birth while standing up so the first acquaintance of the baby giraffe with the real world is anything but gentle: during a fall of almost two meters the umbilical cord is severed, after which the baby, a bit dazed, tries to recover in the straw. Pretty soon the calf will stand on its feet, which is very important as in nature danger may be lurking anywhere.

See them!

Usually after one day mother and calve go outdoors in an enclosure specially designed for  giraffe mothers and their babies, as yet separated from their fellow giraffes and the other animals living on the savannah, like rhinos, zebras and antelopes. Here they will stay until the age of approximately three months, thus preventing the elderly young to also drink from the mothers, causing the baby  giraffe to become undernourished. Besides, the zebras in particular can be very annoying towards newcomers on the savannah, especially when they are still a bit wobbly on their legs.

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People often think penguins mate for life, just like swans do. But one lady in our colony, known as 161, has a very different opinion! She was hatched in 1988 in Baltimore, and arrived in Arnhem in 1989. She quickly mated with a young penguin male called 162, who also came over from Baltimore. Together with him she laid her first egg (interesting fact: it was the first egg in the new colony!) Unfortunately, the egg was unfertilized, but they did hatch a chick from the next egg. Then tragedy struck: male 162 died at a very young age and 161 was left behind all alone. 

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