Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade
Zoo are still celebrating the recent birth of a giant.
A Reticulated Giraffe was born to first time mum, Luna, and dad,
Bashu, on April 26. The new male calf has been named Khari, which
means ‘King-like’ in Swahili, because of his regal-looking
ossicones – the tiny crown-like horns on a Giraffe’s head.
Born as part of the European Breeding Programme (EEP) for the
Endangered species, the adorable calf already stands head and
shoulders above most of the residents at the UK’s largest zoo –
hovering at almost six-feet tall.
ZSL team leader, Mark Holden, explained, “First-time mum Luna
is doing a sterling job of looking after Khari – positively doting
on her new arrival, while feeding and cleaning him
“However, the birth was definitely a family affair; Dad Bashu
was rubbing Luna’s neck encouragingly during her four-hour
labour, while grandmother Ijuma helped to clean the youngster after
the birth – and they’ve all since continued to be very involved
in Khari’s care.”
Giraffe calves weigh more than the twenty times the average 7
lb. human when they’re born, weighing in at around 150 lbs. at
Giraffes also give birth standing up, meaning their calves make
an epic entrance into the world: falling six feet, hooves first to
the ground, before learning to walk within an hour.
“Khari is a very confident calf, just like his father, Bashu,
and is very inquisitive about his new surroundings…tottering
around the Giraffe House exploring every inch of his new
“Under his parents’ watchful gaze, Khari has even started to
tentatively venture outside, so lucky visitors should be able to
spot him stretching his legs…!”
The Giraffe is the tallest animal in the world. Males reach a
towering 19 feet tall and weigh between 2400 and 4250 pounds.
Females measure up to 17 feet tall and weigh between 1540 and 2600
Giraffes have the same number of bones in the neck as humans –
seven. Valves in their neck prevent blood rushing to the head when
they bend down to drink. Babies stand at about two meters at birth
– their horns lie flat at birth and pop up several days later.
Giraffes eat mainly acacia leaves but also shoots, fruits and
In the wild, Reticulated Giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis
reticulata) are confined to northeastern Kenya, eastern Sudan and
Eritrea. Reticulated Giraffes are the most distinctively patterned
of the eight subspecies of Giraffe. Their coat has brown, regular,
box-like patterns (called a reticulated pattern). White spaces
between the patches form narrow lines. This elaborate pattern is
good camouflage in dense, dry vegetation.
Source: FS – Zoo Borns
‘King’ Among Giants Born at Whipsnade Zoo