Chester Zoo’s adorable new giraffe calf has confidently taken his first steps outdoors.
Long-limbed Kidepo stalked into the sunshine with his mum Orla, dad Meru and the rest of the herd for his first public appearance today (August 3), after he entered the world on July 23.
The newcomer is the third Rothschild’s giraffe to be born at the zoo in just eight months and the baby boom has given an important boost to the European-wide breeding programme for the endangered species.
Sarah Roffe, team manager of the giraffes, said: “It’ll take Kidepo a little bit of time to get used to his long legs but he already seems confident and full of personality and he’s doing very well so far.
"We’re really pleased with how he has taken to the rest of the herd and with how the herd has quickly taken to having him around.
“With three endangered Rothschild’s giraffe calves born here in a short space of time, it’s a very busy period for the zookeepers. But we wouldn’t want it any other way.
“Hopefully our new trio can bring some much-needed attention to the species and put a spotlight on the huge pressures that Rothschild’s giraffes have come under in the wild, as well as help raise awareness of the ever-growing need for conservation projects.”
The Rothschild’s giraffe has been almost totally eliminated as a result of habitat loss and hunting, now surviving in small, isolated populations.
Research suggests that fewer than 1,100 are now left in the wild – making them one of the most endangered subspecies of giraffe in the world.
As well its successful breeding programme, Chester Zoo also supports vital projects in the wild - including the first ever scientific review of the species - with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the animals in Africa.