He’s delicate and dark eyed – and stands at over 5 feet tall. Paignton Zoo’s new baby giraffe was born at around 7.30am on Monday, January 10.
The as yet unnamed male calf was born to mother Sangha and father Yoda after a 15 to 16 month gestation period. He is her first youngster, while Yoda fathered a calf by the zoo’s other female last year.
Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment told the Devon Week: “We are very pleased to have a second youngster within a year.”
Father Yoda came from Givskud Zoo, Denmark, where he was born on November 14, 2004. He arrived in Devon in September 2006. Mother Sangha, five and a half, came from Liberec Zoo in Slovakia. The zoo’s herd is completed by female Janica and her calf Tonda, born in February 2010.
All five are Rothschild’s (Baringo) giraffes. Rothschild’s giraffes are classified as Endangered – the European Endangered species Programme for Rothschild’s giraffes is managed by Chester Zoo.
Keeper Jim Dicks said: “The birth has come as a bit of a surprise. We thought Sangha might be pregnant back in the summer, but the signs were not clear and we began to think it was a false alarm. Wild animals are very good at keeping this sort of thing hidden. The first we knew about it was when we found the youngster when we arrived early on Monday morning.”
The calf is set to wow visitors to the zoo, one of the region’s biggest tourist attractions. For more information go to the Paignton Zoo site or ring 01803 697500.