Incredible Footage Captures Birth Of Endangered Giraffe Calf At Chester Zoo
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CCTV at Chester Zoo has captured the birth of an endangered Rothschild's giraffe calf and it's truly incredible.
The footage has been shared by the conservation zoo's keepers, and it also sees the baby giraffe taking his first ever wobbly steps while his mum looks on.
Mum Dagmar, 12, gave birth on Tuesday morning while giraffe experts at the zoo monitored the three and a half hour-long labour on cameras.
The new calf drops six feet to the floor, landing on a bed of soft straw.
Keepers at the zoo are yet to name the healthy male youngster, who was up on his feet walking within and hour of entering the world.
"When a giraffe mum drops her calf to the floor it can look a little dramatic - but it's not such a long drop when the baby is six foot tall," said Sarah Roffe, Giraffe Team Manager at the zoo. "Nevertheless, to see the birth and the very first steps of an animal as rare of the Rothschild's giraffe is an incredibly special thing.
"Dagmar is so far being the model mum. She's staying close to her calf and letting him suckle, which of course is vital in these early few days. The milk is filled with important nutrients like colostrum, which will help the little one to grow and reinforce an inseparable bond between mum and baby.
"This new arrival is a special addition to the international breeding programme for this endangered species, which is working to boost numbers in zoos and safeguard its future."
Rothschild's giraffes are 'highly threatened' in the wild, with their numbers declining by 90 per cent in recent decades.
This makes them one of the world's most at-risk mammals, with experts believing that only 2,650 remain in Africa.
The species has broader dividing white lines and has no spots beneath the knees.
Giraffes were hunted for their tails to be used as good-luck charms, sewing thread and fly swats.
Conservationists at Chester Zoo are now working in Uganda as part of a vital project to protect these kinds of giraffes in the wild.
The Chester Zoo team has partnered up with The Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Uganda Wildlife Foundation to fight to protect the last remaining wild populations of Rothchild's giraffes.
Mike Jordan, Collections Director at the zoo, explained: "Giraffes are currently experiencing devastating declines in the wild but experts from Chester are right in the thick of the fight to help to protect Rothschild's giraffes, one of the rarest subspecies, in Uganda's Kidepo Valley National Park.
"The constant threat of habitat loss, along with Africa's ongoing poaching crisis, continues to put these magnificent animals at risk of extinction.
"There is good news though - our teams have been working to support The Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Uganda Wildlife Authority for a number of years, helping to monitor, track and protect the giraffe population in Kidepo and we're very happy to report that numbers are slowly increasing. It's an incredible effort by all involved to help prevent extinction."