WEST PALM BEACH, FL (WFLX) - Lion Country Safari welcomed the first giraffe calf of the year on Jan. 21st. The 6-foot 2-inch female calf was born mid-afternoon in front of park guests (most of the park's births have been in the evening or early morning). The baby has been named after Lion Country Safari staff member, Ashleigh, who has worked with over 50 giraffes in the past 11 years.
In 2012 Lion Country Safari welcomed over 60 births on safari. Baby Ashleigh is the fourth animal birth on safari this year. Other births are two blackbucks (born 1/5, 1/25) and an Eland (born 1/27).
The giraffe calf and her mom are segregated from the herd in the maternity pen to allow bonding time. They are visible in the drive-through preserve (section 7, Hwange National Park) or from the giraffe feeding exhibit at Lion Country Safari. In nearly three months, they will join the remainder of the giraffe herd at Lion Country Safari.
Female giraffe reproduce year-round beginning at about four years of age. Their conception peak is usually during the rainy season and their gestation lasts approximately fifteen months. Giraffe calves are born while the mother is in a standing position and they drop 6 feet or more to the ground head first. Life expectancy of a giraffe is twenty-five years.
Youtube link highlighting the minutes after her birth: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=23a2OJu3Wrk.