Boost for endangered giraffe species after calf born at Port Lympne reserve

A critically endangered female giraffe has been born at an animal park in Kent.

The Rothschild calf, who arrived on Tuesday to first time parents Valentino and Lunar, was the first to be born at Port Lympne Reserve for eight years.

Despite being less than a week old, the calf is already five feet tall and has been exploring her enclosure at the reserve near Ashford.

The animal park is part of a European breeding project designed to save the Rothchild's breed. Only around 750 Rothschild's giraffes are thought to remain in the wild.

Victoria Snook, African experience keeper, said: "This is Lunar's first calf and stands at a leggy five feet fall. Although it's early days, she is suckling well and already starting to explore, under the watchful eyes of her mum Lunar and auntie, Lehana."

Adrian Harland, animal director at the reserve, said the new calf would play an important role in future conservation.

"We are privileged to be part of such an important breeding programme. Conservation of endangered species is at the core of what we do and this fabulous little female will have a vital role to play in the future."