18/02/2020

A new baby giraffe has been born in Barcelona Zoo

A new addition to the Rothschild subspecies of giraffe, who has been given the name Thembi, was born to Nuru on 10 February, and both mother and daughter are in perfect health

This new birth bears testimony to Barcelona Zoo’s commitment to the conservation and preservation of biodiversity and vulnerable or threatened species

On 10 February, Barcelona Zoo welcomed aboard a new baby Rothschild giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), a daughter to Nuru, a 10-year-old giraffe who came to the Zoo from Emmem Zoo back in 2011. The new birth has been made possible thanks to the quality of the giraffes’ installations and the expertise of the zoo’s professionals in this species, creating conditions that guarantee their well-being. The new birth also serves to strengthen the networking among Barcelona Zoo and other zoos aimed at conserving and preserving biodiversity and ecosystems.

The baby giraffe, accompanied by her mother, will be staying in one of the facility's special units for a few days before she joins the rest of the group. This will enable a team of carers to better ensure the needs of both mother and daughter. What’s more, the current giraffe installations meant that visitors were able to watch the birth of the baby giraffe without causing mother or daughter to feel any discomfort or sense of threat.

Giraffes have a gestation period of between 450 and 468 days, generally giving birth to a single calf measuring almost two metres in height. In contrast to most other mammals, giraffes give birth standing upright or even while walking. During the first two weeks, calves spend most of the time lying down, protected by their mother. While adult giraffes are too big to be attacked by most predators, the calves can fall prey to lions, leopards, hyenas and African wild dogs.

The Zoo is involved in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) for giraffes, a species regarded as threatened by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Giraffes were once common throughout a large part of Africa, but the progressive desertification of their habitat caused by human activities such as deforestation, livestock expansion, agriculture and mining operations, climate change; poaching and the consequences of geopolitical conflicts affecting part of the African continent have all restricted their area of distribution considerably. Large populations can now only be found in national parks and other protected areas.

The status of these populations and the anthropogenic pressure they face make it essential for members of this species to be kept in zoos, with the aim of creating a reservoir of more than 500 individuals that can be potentially reintroduced when conditions in their natural habitats make this feasible.

In this line, Barcelona Zoo Foundation is involved in a collaboration project with the authorities in Niger geared towards the in situ conservation of the peralta giraffe subspecies, the most iconic giraffe in the Sahel, to ensure the feasibility of their reduced population numbers.

This is a good example of the Zoo’s new strategic plan approved by Barcelona City Council, which defines several priority habitats to which the Zoo is committed. One of these is the Sahel, which is under serious threat from climate change and is key to halting the desert's advance to the south, where there are predominantly savannas and jungles.

The Deputy Mayor’s Office for 2030 Agenda, Digital Transition, Sports and Territorial and Metropolitan Coordination, Laia Bonet, has signalled the birth of the new baby giraffe as another step forward for Barcelona Zoo in terms of nature conservation. “Working to conserve threatened or underpopulated species is essential to halt the loss of the Planet's biodiversity” she stated.

Barcelona Zoo’s New Model is designed to make it benchmark for the conservation and preservation of biodiversity and animal welfare. This is why the Zoo is firmly committed to preserving biodiversity around the world through in situ and ex situ support and conservation projects, always prioritising working in the natural environment, in and for species’ habitats, given that the main reason for species extinction is the destruction of their ecosystems.

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