Moment rare six-foot tall giraffe born at Chester Zoo caught on CCTV

Footage of the new baby Rothschild giraffe from Chester Zoo

The world's tallest mammal, a rare Rothschild giraffe, has been born at Chester Zoo, with the special moment captured live on CCTV cameras.

The leggy newcomer arrived into the world to new mum Orla, with the scene captured by the zoo’s CCTV cameras, at 11:30pm on Tuesday 12 March.

Footage shows the calf falling from a height of six feet onto a bed of soft straw following a 472 day pregnancy and a labour lasting more than three hours.

The baby giraffe can then be seen stumbling to its feet and suckling from mum for the first time – all within just 30 minutes of being born.

Zookeepers are yet to determine if it is male or female and have said the calf already weighs more than 70kg and stands at 6 foot tall , but will eventually grow to be more than 18 foot tall and weigh 1,000kg.

The moment the birth was caught on camera:

Rosie Owen, who is a zookeeper on the giraffe team and was one of the first to see the new arrival, said:

"Giraffes give birth standing up and so they really do enter world in dramatic fashion!

"Orla’s calf landed with quite a bump when it fell around six feet onto the floor, but this is totally normal and is actually really important part of the birth process – with the impact from the fall stimulating the calf and encouraging it to takes its very first breath.

“So far mum and baby are doing really well and, at just two days old, they’re spending some quiet time getting to know one another.

"Orla is an experienced mum, and so we’re seeing all the right signs from her, she’s very nurturing and allows her little one suckle often while giving them little nudges of encouragement – especially as her calf is a little unsteady on its long legs.

“For many years giraffes underwent a silent extinction across Africa, with their declining numbers flying completely under the radar.

"But now, thanks to the international conservation breeding programme in zoos, paired with efforts in the wild to protect the remaining populations, numbers are slowly starting to bounce back in Uganda, Africa, where we’re working alongside our partners. Together, we’re helping to create a future where the world’s tallest animal can thrive well into the future."

Zookeepers say the baby giraffe 'landed with a bump' Credit: Chester Zoo

Tens of thousands of Rothschild’s giraffes were once found in Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, however their population has suffered a 90% decline in recent years as a direct result of poaching and habitat loss.

With just 2,500 estimated to remain across the whole of Africa, and the last major stronghold now in Kenya and Uganda, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) has listed the species as vulnerable - which means it faces a high chance of becoming extinct in the future.

Experts at the zoo are currently working in Uganda alongside its in-country partners, The Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Uganda Wildlife Authority, to help monitor and safeguard the animals in the wild.

This work has now seen the population increase for the fourth consecutive year thanks decades of conservation efforts.

The baby giraffe with mum Orla Credit: Chester Zoo

Rothschild’s giraffe facts:

  • Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the most endangered of the nine sub-species of giraffe.

  • They are named after zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild, founder of the National History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire.

  • The species is identified by its broader dividing white lines and has no spots beneath the knees.

  • Once wide-ranging across Kenya, Uganda and Sudan, the Rothschild’s giraffe has been almost totally eliminated from much of its former range and now only survives in a few small, isolated populations Uganda and Kenya.

  • Research suggests that 2,500 Rothschild’s giraffes now remain in the wild.

  • Roughly one-third of the surviving population of Rothschild’s giraffes live in zoos where carefully co-ordinated breeding programmes are creating a safety-net population for the species.

  • The main threat to the species now is loss of habitat and poaching for meat and hidesIn the past, giraffes were hunted for their tails, which were used as good-luck charms, sewing thread and even fly swats.

  • Predators to the Rothschild’s giraffe include hyenas, lions, crocodiles and leopards.

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