Tall and cute! Endangered Masai giraffe born at The Wilds

A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8. THE WILDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Caption
A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8. THE WILDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8 — the 20th giraffe calf to be born at the conservation center throughout its history.

The newborn calf is six-feet tall and sticking close to its mother, Savannah.

A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8. THE WILDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Caption
A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8. THE WILDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

“The arrival of this calf is exciting on many levels. Of course, it is always heartwarming to welcome an adorable calf to the herd, but it’s the hope that his birth represents for the future of his subspecies that carries the deepest meaning,” said Dr. Jan Ramer, Senior Vice President of Animal Care and Conservation at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium, and Vice President of The Wilds, in a release.

The calf’s father, Raha, was born at the Los Angeles Zoo in April 2006 and arrived at The Wilds from the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium in 2009 where he has since sired nine calves. Savannah was born at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo in August 2003 and has lived at The Wilds since 2004. Savannah is an experienced mother, and this calf is her sixth.

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The birth is a significant achievement for Masai giraffes. In 2019, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed the Masai giraffe subspecies as endangered as the population has plummeted by nearly 50 percent over the last three decades.

There are estimated to be only 35,000 Masai giraffes remaining in their native ranges in southern Kenya and north and central Tanzania primarily due to habitat loss, civil unrest/military operations, poaching and ecological changes.

A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8. THE WILDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Caption
A male Masai giraffe calf was born at The Wilds Sept. 8. THE WILDS / CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Credit: Grahm S. Jones

Calves are born after a gestation period of approximately 15 months. The mother gives birth standing up, and calves can stand and run on their own within a few hours of birth.

Male giraffes can grow to be 18 feet tall at their horn tips and weigh between 1,800 and 4,300 lbs. Females are between 13 and 15 feet tall and weigh between 1,200 and 2,600 lbs. Giraffes are the tallest of all extant land-living animal species, and are the largest ruminants.

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The new calf may be visible to guests during either an Open-Air Safari Tour or a Wildside Tour. The Wilds is currently open daily through September and then weekends only in October.

The Wilds is located at 14000 International Rd. in Cumberland, Ohio, about 90 minutes east of Columbus. Normal hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day from May through September and on Saturdays and Sundays in October.

For more information, visit TheWilds.org.