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Rare endangered giraffe born on Boxing Day at Chester Zoo

The giraffe calf fell 6ft to the ground when it was born Credit: Chester Zoo

A rare Rothschild’s giraffe calf was born on Boxing Day at Chester Zoo.

The six-feet-tall youngster, which is yet to be sexed or named, arrived to first time mum Tula and dad Meru at around 7am.

Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the world’s most at risk species.

Recent estimates suggest that less than 1,600 remain in the wild, primarily as a result of poaching and habitat loss.

Sarah Roffe, team manager of giraffes at the zoo, said:“Rothschild’s giraffes are highly endangered and so the arrival of a new calf is a major cause for celebration. It really is the best Christmas gift we could have ever have wished for."

In the last 45 years the population of the Rothchild’s giraffes in Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP) in Uganda – where they were once found in large numbers - has reduced by more than 90%.

1,600
remain in the wild
90%
decline in Rothchild’s giraffes in Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda in the past 45 years

A huge part of its decline was due to poaching in the 1990’s and since then the population has failed to bounce back as habitat loss continues to threaten their survival.

Chester Zoo's experts are working with partners in Uganda to conserve the species.

The 6ft calf still has a lot of growing to do to catch up with its mother Credit: Chester Zoo

They have conducted their first ever census on the Rothschild’s giraffe species to try and understand why the population in the national park is not increasing.

Tim Rowlands, the zoo’s curator of mammals, said: "Our giraffe keepers have been out to Africa to lend their expertise and knowhow to an extremely important project which is aiming to improve the outlook for the species.

"Initiatives like this really show the role that modern zoos play in animal conservation and it will give us a better understanding of how we can help protect the species and its future."