A rare giraffe born at a conservation center in Connecticut has been spotted taking her first ever steps with her mother.
According to The Greenwich Time, the female calf was born on Friday to Petal, a six-year-old Rothschild giraffe at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center. Staff and other giraffes watched on as the birth take place. In the video below, mom can be seen encouraging her offspring to stand for the first time. It is obviously adorable.
Standing at almost six feet high, the as-yet-unnamed calf is the newest member of an endangered giraffe subspecies. Only a few hundred Rothschild giraffes remain in the wild, and the subspecies is reportedly at particular risk of hybridisation as the population is so limited in numbers.
Marcella Leone, founder and director of LEO Zoological Conservation Center, says that the calf has proven curious and happy to approach humans in her first few days of life. The newborn will join a group of five other giraffes, including two pregnant animals, when she is fully grown. She could yet reach up to 18 feet in height.
To help support the dwindling number of Rothschild’s giraffes, there are various captive breeding programmes in place, though many of these are located in Africa such as the Giraffe Centre in Nairobi, Kenya. The rare giraffe born at the center in Connecticut is the first of its kind.
While Rothschild giraffes may be hard to tell apart to the untrained eye, there are subtle differences. The Rothschild is the only giraffe subspecies to be born with five ossicones (the horn-like protuberances sported by every giraffe), are taller than many other subspecies, and have no markings on the lower leg.
Rothschild giraffes, named and described by British zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild after an expedition to East Africa in the early 1900s, mate at any time of the year, and typically give birth to a single calf. You can check out the latest adorable addition to the Rothschild giraffe subspecies below:
[Image via Shutterstock.com]