Zoo's first baby giraffe in 28 years

The Singapore Zoo's fastest growing attraction - literally - is a baby which was born 1.9m tall and shot up 40cm in just over 70 days to 2.3m.

Recent visitors to the zoo may have spotted its latest addition galloping around with its long-legged, long-necked family.

The Mandai attraction's first baby giraffe in 28 years was born on Aug 31 and spent its first full day out in the giraffe exhibit yesterday, with its father Growie, mother Roni and aunt Lucy.

The male calf, which does not have a name yet, was 1.9m at birth, taller than an average person. It has grown to 2.3m and may more than double its height to 5.5m when it reaches maturity in three to five years. Over the past two weeks, keepers have been letting the calf, nicknamed Baby G, explore its exhibit periodically, to get it used to the presence of human visitors.

They also added barriers along the perimeter of the exhibit to prevent the calf from "doing the limbo" and wandering out, said assistant curator Azmi Amzah, 43.

Baby G had a shaky start when it was a few days old, as it was unable to coordinate its wobbly legs.

But it has since settled down well and has started nibbling on leaves and munching on fodder, instead of only relying on its mother's milk.

While giraffes are not an endangered species, unlike the pandas, Baby G's birth is still a cause for celebration, said Mr Azmi.

"Babies are a good indication that the animals under our care feel comfortable and secure enough to breed in the environment that we've created for them," he said.

His advice for visitors? Try not to make too much noise, as the calf is still startled by new things, including the zoo's trams when they rumble past.

Baby G has caught the attention of not just human visitors, but its animal neighbours from across the road - the lions.

Mr Azmi said the lions perked up and "looked interested" when they saw the calf for the first time.

"The baby... didn't react at all. Maybe he doesn't know that lions eat them," he said with a laugh.


About giraffes

A giraffe gives birth standing up. The calf drops from a height of 1.8m onto the ground before learning to stand up.

Baby giraffes are born about 1.82m tall, can grow up to 2.5cm a day, and double their height in one year.

A male giraffe can grow up to 5.5m tall and weigh up to 1,360kg, while a female can reach a height of 4.3m and a weight of 680kg.

Giraffes have a life span of 15 to 20 years in the wild, and have been known to live 28 years in captivity.

The giraffe is listed as the "least concern" in the matter of extinction due to its wide distribution, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

The Singapore Zoo is giving away four passes to the giraffe edition of its Wild Discoverer Tour. The package, which comes with zoo merchandise, is worth $300. Highlights include a behind-the- scenes peek at where the calf was born and a token feeding session. For a chance to win, answer this question: The giraffe calf was born on Aug 31, 2015. True/False?

E-mail your answer, name and contact number to corpcomms.szg@wrs.com.sg by noon on Sunday. Terms and conditions apply.

This article was first published on Nov 13, 2015.
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