Budapest Zoo presents newborn giraffe

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by ASSOCIATED PRESS

ASSOCIATED PRESS

Posted on May 31, 2013 at 4:07 PM

BUDAPEST -- Budapest Zoo on Friday presented its newborn giraffe to delighted visitors.

The calf was born on May 18, the first baby born to the zoo's six year old female Sandra.

The calf's father died shortly before the birth.

Up until now, the 170cm tall female calf has been kept indoors, but now that the warmer weather has arrived she is allowed outside.

The successful birth was very important for the zoo, as its six giraffes are of the endangered subspecies Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi, commonly called Rothschild's or Ugandan giraffes, and are in an international captive breeding programme aimed at preserving the species.

Only a few hundred Rothschild's giraffes live in the wild today, in Kenya and Uganda.

A giraffe pregnancy is one of the longest among mammals, lasting between 400 and 460 days.

This was the 28th giraffe birth at Budapest Zoo, where the first calf was born in 1868 to a giraffe which was a gift from Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph.

The calf's mother, Sandra, was also part of the international breeding programme and arrived in Budapest in 2008 from Prague, in the Czech Republic.

The zoo management plans to send the newborn calf to another zoo in a year or two.

The female calf has not been named yet, and the zoo was collecting name suggestions from visitors.

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