KUALA LUMPUR: Zoo Negara here has a new addition following the birth of a female giraffe calf on April 18.

The giraffe, with a height of about 1.4m and weighing about 50kg, was born in the morning and was witnessed by visitors to the zoo at the time.

Zoology, Veterinary Hospital and Giant Panda Conservation Centre (GPCC) director Dr Mat Naim Ramli, said the giraffe was the sixth to be born and its birth was highly anticipated for the past year.

“Earlier, five giraffes were born but unfortunately four were unable to be saved because the mother giraffe refused to suckle her calves.

“The fifth giraffe calf born last year only survived up to five months and died from bacterial infection,” he told Bernama.

He said that because of the mother giraffe’s rather aggressive nature and rejection of her new born calves, he was concerned about the condition of the giraffe as soon as he learned that she was pregnant.

“As soon as the mother giraffe began her gestation period, thorough preparations were made including isolating the parent.

“It is important to avoid any pressure as the giraffe’s gestation period is between 14 to 15 months,” he said.

Commenting on the current condition of the baby giraffe, Dr Mat Naim said the calf often lies down and occasionally stands up and walks.

“The mother giraffe appears to accept her presence, unlike her response to the previous births, but is still reluctant to suckle her.

“We are forced to feed the baby giraffe as much as 1.8 litres of goat’s milk every day.

“After completing a health check, the young giraffe has been shown to the public for the past two weeks, and it has become one of the latest attraction at Zoo Negara,” he said. — Bernama