Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo

Ruth Doherty
Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo
Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo

Keepers and conservationists at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare giraffe.

The Rothschild giraffe calf - the world's most endangered sub-species of giraffe - was born on 25 March to first-time mum Orla after a 14-month pregnancy. She weighed in at 52kgs.

Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo
Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo

Despite being just a few days old, at six feet tall, the youngster – which keepers have named Millie - is already towering over them. Chester Zoo's curator of mammals, Tim Rowlands, said: "For a first-time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far. She really does seem to be taking motherhood all in her rather long stride.

"Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after. Already she is strong and tall which is really pleasing.

"Rothschild giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programmes in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We're therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer."

Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo
Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo


According to conservationists there are now less than 670 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild, following the loss of their traditional habitat in their native Kenya and Uganda and their poaching for their meat. The species is the most endangered of the nine sub-species of giraffe.

As well as its breeding successes, Chester Zoo has also supported important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild giraffe with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.

Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo
Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo

The giraffes are known as Rothchild's giraffe, being named after zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild, founder of the National History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire.

The species is identified by its broader dividing white lines and has no spots beneath the knees.

Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo
Beautiful rare baby Rothschild giraffe born at Chester Zoo

Back at the zoo, the new calf is the latest in a long list of endangered species to have been born in the last six months.

Two endangered Asian elephants, two critically endangered black rhinos, two critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, an okapi and two giant otter pups, as well as Kanzi, another Rothschild giraffe, have all been part of the zoo's recent baby boom.

And long may it continue.

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