If you have ever witnessed the birth of an animal in the wild, consider yourself one of the lucky ones. It is an incredibly rare act of nature that not many are privileged to see.
With summer in full swing, we have seen many youngsters around! Recently, one of our rangers just happened to be in the right place at the right time. He got to witness the birth of a giraffe! It was a rainy day so it seemed quite fitting that this little one came with the new rain.
A New Life
A typical gestation period for giraffes can last up to 15 months. It is common for the expecting mothers to distance themselves from the herd to give birth.
It was amazing, within a few minutes the newborn fell to the ground. Giraffes give birth while standing up, so a calf enters the world from quite a height! They fall roughly two metres to the ground with hooves and head first. Surprisingly, the two metre fall from their mother’s womb to the ground below doesn’t hurt baby giraffes, it helps them by snapping their short umbilical cords and tearing the amniotic sack. The abrupt landing also helps stimulate the calf to take its first breaths.
This particular newborn took its time to get up. It struggled for quite some time while its mother patiently waited. It was heart-warming to see the doting mother licking the little one and nudging it with her hooves to encourage it to stand.
Soon enough other giraffes came to investigate and welcome the new member. They were quite curious, and it was incredible to witness the interaction between the giraffe as they seemed to greet the little one.
Infants can usually stand within half an hour and run with their mothers an incredible ten hours after birth. Incredibly, a new-born giraffe is born as tall as a human adult! They may look small next to their very tall mothers, but this certainly isn’t the case.
Next time on safari, make sure to keep your eyes open to all the sights and sound the bush has to offer. Who knows, you might just be fortunate enough to witness something incredible!