The newest addition to the giraffe clan at Monarto Zoo took its first steps yesterday, just 30 minutes after it was born to mother Myeisha around 11am.
Myesiha went into labour around 10.30am and gave birth without complication within half an hour.
Crowds watched as the baby calf struggled to its feet and learnt to walk alongside its mother.
Giraffe Keeper Vaughan Wilson said the birth was the first in eight years for Monarto’s giraffes and the fourth calf for Myeisha.
“She’s behaved very well as a mum so far… she’s been relatively protecting,” he said.
“She’s been standing still a lot to let the calf come to her but she’s been close by at all times.”
Mr Wilson said their had been an eight-year gap between breeding because giraffes are a nationally managed species.
He said the keepers would keep an eye on how the other females interact with the calf as it grows.
“One female was particularly inquisitive about the calf and was nudging it to try to keep it moving,” he said.
“In the wild, if they don’t learn to walk quickly, it’s a matter of life and death.”
Mr Wilson said the zoo would not carry out any physical checks.
“It’s very stressful for a giraffe to be restrained so we stick to visual checks and observing behaviour,” he said.
“We’ll most likely determine the gender when we first see it urinate… we won’t be getting to close because that would frighten the mother.”
The calf will soon have a playmate as fellow female giraffe, Kinky, is on the verge of also giving birth.