Baby giraffe makes Dublin Zoo debut
THERE was the giraffe equivalent of "wetting the baby's head" at the African Savannah at Dublin Zoo this week when the entire herd welcomed a new-born calf into its fold.
Weighing in at a healthy 70kg and 1.7 metres tall, the male Rothschild giraffe was quite a handful. He was an instant hit with the herd of seven giraffes when he made his debut at the savannah enclosure on Monday.
Dublin Zoo operations manager Gerry Creighton explained: "It's part of the acceptance ritual."
Female members of the herd had a sneak preview when the calf – who has yet to be named – was born in front of them last Wednesday.
The birth was captured on CCTV, to the delight of zoo staff.
The successful birth was also a happy ending for the mother Maeve, whose last calf, Tamu, born at the zoo in June 2012, died last December.
Meanwhile, the proud father, Robin, who has sired several other giraffes at the zoo, including Tamu, was introduced to his newborn for the first time this week and he immediately took to him, Mr Creighton said.
The calf will remain at the zoo until he matures in about five or seven years' time and then will likely be loaned out to other zoos as part of the international zoo breeding programme, he added.
But in the meantime, he's sure to be a hit with the crowds.