Does anyone else feel lately like any and all news about the planet is bad? It’s not just a feeling, it’s a reality, and one that must be fought at every turn. Against the great terror of climate change, mass extinction, and human destruction, one little giraffe can’t tip the scales. But, damn, it’s a good baby giraffe, and I’m so glad to know about it.
The UK’s Chester Zoo announced on Wednesday that a Rothschild’s giraffe had been born in captivity at their facilities on Boxing Day. The Guardian reports that it was the first calf for mama Tula, and sired by papa Meru, whose attempts at baby-making are unremarked. As Rothschild’s giraffes are the most endangered of all the subspecies of giraffes, one of the world’s most at-risk species, this is big news for giraffe lovers.
Due to poaching and habitat loss, there are only an estimated 1,600 Rothschild’s giraffes left in the wild. The giraffe’s team manager, Sarah Roffe, told the Guardian that this has been a wonderful boost for the group at the end of 2016:
“Rothschild’s giraffes are highly endangered and so the arrival of a new calf is a major cause for celebration. It really is the best Christmas gift we could have ever have wished for. Shortly after being born, the calf was up on its feet within minutes, which was really pleasing to see.
“When it gets a little more used to its long legs it will be introduced to the rest of the herd but, for now, it’s important that mum and calf spend a few days together striking up those early bonds.”
Chester Zoo has conservation programs in place and works with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Uganda. They recently conducted the first census on the Rothschild’s giraffe in the Ugandan national park to try and understand better why the species population is stagnant. The new arrival has not yet been named or sexed, but it is a very welcome addition to their giraffe family at home.
The zoo also recently celebrated the birth of another endangered animal: on December 17 they welcome an Asian elephant named Indali. CCTV footage caught her squishy birth after a 22-month gestation, and you know what? I cried watching it:
Welcome to the world, baby animals. May it grow steadier under your adorable feet.