Animal experts at Paignton Zoo are keeping a close eye on the health of new baby giraffe Kito.
Senior head Mammal Keeper Julian Chapman: “We knew from the start that he was not able to suckle during the day because Sangha – who is a first time mother – would move away from him when he tried. We set up video cameras to monitor them overnight – the results were inconclusive, but he was obviously getting some milk. However, it is clear that he is not getting enough from her.
“It is always hard to get a young giraffe to feed from a bottle if you don’t step in right away. If you do step in and hand-rear, then there can be all sorts of issues for the animal later on in terms of how it gets on with other giraffes.”
Curator of Mammals Neil Bemment said: “Kito was sprightly enough to take his first steps outdoors on Tuesday morning. However, by around 5pm he appeared weak. Our in-house vet team gave him fluids intravenously and by stomach tube and keepers gave him some milk – gold top equivalent – by bottle. He was much better when we left him at 8.30pm.”
Staff will be watching the youngster closely over the next few days and giving him further feeds while keeping him in with the rest of the group.
Kito was born at around 730am on Monday, January 10 to mother Sangha and father Yoda. He is her first youngster, while Yoda fathered a calf by the Zoo’s other female last year.
Rothschild’s giraffes are classified as Endangered – the European Endangered species Programme for Rothschild’s giraffes is managed by Chester Zoo.
(from a press release)