KEEPERS and conservationists at Chester Zoo are celebrating the birth of a rare giraffe.
The Rothschild giraffe calf – the world’s most endangered sub-species of giraffe – was born on Sunday, March 24, to first-time mum Orla after a 14-and-a half-month pregnancy.
Despite being just a few days old, at six feet tall, the youngster – which keepers have named Millie – is already towering over them.
Curator of mammals Tim Rowlands said: “For a first-time mum Orla is doing a superb job so far. She really does seem to be taking motherhood all in her rather long stride.
“Millie was up on her feet within just a few minutes of being born and she began suckling from mum not long after.
“Already she is strong and tall which is really pleasing.
“Rothschild giraffes are very, very rare indeed and so careful, managed breeding programmes in zoos and wildlife parks are vital for their long-term future. We’re therefore obviously delighted with our newcomer.”
According to conservationists there are now fewer than 670 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild, following the loss of their traditional habitat in their native Kenya and Uganda and people poaching them for their meat.
The species is the most endangered of the nine sub-species of giraffe.
As well as its breeding successes, Chester Zoo has also supported important projects in the wild, including the first ever scientific review of the Rothschild giraffe with the aim of developing a long-term conservation strategy for the species in Africa.
The new calf is the latest in a long list of endangered species to have been born in the last six months.
Two endangered Asian elephants, two critically endangered black rhinos, two critically endangered Sumatran orangutans, an okapi and two giant otter pups, as well as Kanzi, another Rothschild giraffe, have all been part of the zoo’s recent baby boom.