Singapore, 20 December 2011 – The world’s first Night Safari welcomed a lanky surprise this festive season – a 1.88m tall baby giraffe born on December 5, 2011.
The male calf got on his feet just moments after a six-foot drop from his mother, Dobeni, which gave birth standing up. The birth is the first after three years. The 75-kg baby, which is still unnamed, is the third South African giraffe born at the Night Safari. His father, Pongola, and mother Dobeni are also proud parents of female giraffe Kayin, that was born at the park in 2008.
“We hope that the birth of this South African giraffe sub-species at Night Safari will continue to increase the gene pool of the species for global zoological institutions through animal exchanges and breeding programmes,” said Mr. Subash Chandran, Assistant Director, Zoology, Night Safari.
Although the giraffe is classified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as Least Concern, its range in Africa has been reduced due to habitat degradation. There are nine subspecies of giraffe, which differ in size, coloration, pattern and range. Some subspecies are classified as endangered.
“In the wild, young giraffes often fall prey to lions, leopards and hyenas. It is estimated that only a small percentage of baby giraffes reach adulthood. We are happy to see that our healthy calf is suckling from its mother and galloping in its yard. The first few weeks are very important milestones in a giraffe’s growth,” said Mr. Chandran.
Giraffes are the tallest land animals, growing to a height of between 4.7m and 5.3m. The tallest giraffe in the world recorded a height of 6.1metres. Females are usually shorter than their male counterparts. Being crepuscular, they are active at dawn and dusk and sleep approximately four hours a day. With a flexible upper lip and a long tongue, the giraffe can extend its tongue as far as 53cm to grasp its food of mainly acacia leaves.
Being social animals, wild giraffes exist in loose herds of 10 to 20 individuals. Unknown to many, giraffes, despite their lanky necks, share a similar number of neck bones with humans and mice — seven.
Visitors can visit the baby giraffe at its Night Safari exhibit by February 2012. For more
information on the giraffes at the Night Safari, please visit http://www.nightsafari.com.sg