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    Endangered Masai giraffe born at Columbus Zoo

    UPI – An Ohio zoo is heralding a new arrival to their ranks – a new endangered giraffe, born at the zoo last week. The male Masai giraffe was born at the Columbus Zoo last Wednesday to mum Zuri after a 15-month gestation period, according to a press release from zoo officials.

    The still-unnamed baby boy is being provided time to bond with his mom, and is not yet on public display. However, an exam given the day after his birth found that the calf “seems to be healthy and well fed”, the zoo said, and was seen standing and nursing soon after being born.

    Zuri, the 12-year-old giraffe mom, arrived at the Columbus Zoo in 2013 after bouncing around a number of wildlife centres, and has also given birth to another calf, Ralph, in 2020.

    They join another pair of calves, Sammie and Schaefer, who arrived in 2021 to a different mother.

    All four babies were bred by father Enzi, who sadly had to be humanely euthanised last year due to “chronic and deteriorating health issues that were not responding to treatment”, the zoo said.

    An endangered male Masai giraffe was recently born at the Columbus Zoo. PHOTO: COLUMBUS ZOO

    “We are always thrilled to welcome the birth of a giraffe. Twenty-two giraffes have been born at the Columbus Zoo over the course of our history, but this latest birth – our 23rd – is particularly special,” said Shannon Borders, curator of the Heart of Africa region at the Columbus Zoo.

    “We were heartbroken to lose Enzi, and this calf is such an amazing gift to us and to the future of all Masai giraffes. This little one is truly our miracle baby, and it warms our hearts that Enzi’s legacy continues to live on to have such a positive impact.”

    Zuri and Enzi were paired together as part of a breeding programme designed by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) to promote new births among endangered species.

    While all giraffes are threatened in some form, Masai giraffes are listed as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with the organisation estimating that the total population has fallen by 50 per cent over the last three decades.

    It is estimated that there are only 35,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild due to numerous factors, including habitat loss, civil and military unrest, and poaching, the IUCN said.

    However, efforts to promote breeding among the giraffes have been positive, and the Columbus Zoo said that it has raised over USD279,000 for giraffes in the last decade.

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