Spain rejoice as baby giraffe is born at Barcelona Zoo

A beautiful baby giraffe has been born at Spain’s Barcelona Zoo, the daughter of 10-year-old Nuru who was rescued in 2011.

Named Thembi, the calf will be kept in a special unit at the zoo with her mother so that a team of specialists can attend to their needs before they will join the rest of the group.

Giraffes have one of the longest gestation periods of any animal, being pregnant for around 14 to 15 months, or 453 to 464 days.

They usually give birth to one calf at a time, although twins are possible. When they finally give birth, they do so standing up or even while walking, delivering a calf that is almost two meters tall. During the first two weeks after birth, the offspring spends most of their time lying down, protected by their mother.

Thembi was born at Barcelona Zoo to her 10-year-old mother Nuru. Credit: Barcelona Zoo.

Barcelona Zoo is a member of the European Giraffe Conservation Program that forms part of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and which considers giraffes as a threatened species.

At one point of time, giraffes were seen throughout much of Africa, however, the progressive desertification of their habitat due to human activities such as deforestation, poaching or geopolitical conflicts have greatly impacted their existence. In fact, populations now only remain within national parks and other protected areas.

For this reason, Barcelona City Council considers that the existence of giraffes in zoos is “essential” in order to protect the species and to allow for reintroductions into their natural habitats when the conditions do not pose any threat.

The Barcelona Zoo Foundation are currently working on a collaborative project with Niger authorities in West Africa for the conservation of the Giraffe Peralta subspecies, the most emblematic of the Sahel, thus being able to ensure the viability of its small population.

A Giraffe Peralta, the most emblematic of the Sahel. Credit: Naturalist.

Mayor Deputy Laia Bonet has praised all those at the Zoo who work ” for threatened or diminished species of individuals is essential to stop the loss of biodiversity on the planet.”

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Written by

Isha Sesay