Fota announces the birth of a male Rothschild’s giraffe calf and wants your help to name him.
Today Fota Wildlife Park announced the birth of a male Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), born on 14th September to mother Sapphire and first-time father Ferdie and Fota are asking the public to help name the calf through the form below. Mother, Sapphire, who came to Fota from Edinburgh Zoo in 2004, has given birth to six surviving calves and is 17 years of age. Ten year old Ferdie who is the father, arrived to Fota from Burgers Zoo in The Netherlands in 2012 – both animals were transferred as part of the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) which is a population management programme run by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) to manage captive species populations that may be at risk of going extinct in the wild. The Rothchild’s giraffe is a subspecies of giraffes with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) declaring the population status to be vulnerable.
Lead Ranger Aidan Rafferty said about the birth “We are delighted to welcome this new calf to the herd at Fota, so far he has integrated with the herd and his siblings extremely well – he has made great friends with the other young giraffe calf, two and a half-year-old Noínín and he’s taken to chasing Siofra around the paddock – and both giraffes happen to be his sisters. It’s quite a sight to see a baby calf chasing a fully-grown giraffe! He’s just thriving and basically he is a joy to see!” He continued: “We are also delighted to say that efforts to conserve this once endangered subspecies of giraffe are succeeding with the populations in the wild slowing increasing. Dedicated programmes from the EEP and the cooperative work that Zoos and Wildlife Parks do are helping to raise awareness for the need for conservation for this subspecies.”
The Rothchild’s giraffe is one of the most popular species in Fota Wildlife Park, with the public choosing it as their favourite animal in a recent survey by Behaviour and Attitudes (2019). It is the tallest of any land animal with adult male growing to six metres in height and weighing over 2000kg when fully grown. The Rothschild’s giraffe has a 40 cm blue-black prehensile tongue to grip its food, essentially to rip leaves from branches. Like all giraffe subspecies it is a prey animal and can give birth standing up. All the giraffes born at Fota have been named as Gaeilge – Fota asks the public to remember that the calf is male and that only the entries through the form on the blog will be considered as a name.
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Fota Wildlife Park could not carry out many of its activities without the help and support of a variety of organisations around Europe.