A female giraffe calf born at Perth Zoo was introduced to the public today, after a few weeks adjusting to her environment behind the scenes.

The calf was born to first-time mum, eight-year-old Kitoto, and dad, 15-year old Armani, on March 7th.

Perth Zoo Senior Keeper, Kaelene McKay said: “In December 2016 Kitoto travelled 4200kms from Taronga Zoo, to be paired with our bull, Armani, as part of the Australasian Giraffe Breeding Program.”

“We were thrilled to observe mating attempts shortly after her arrival, and 15 months later we were elated to welcome a calf.”

Giraffe numbers in the wild have had a dramatic decline of 40% in the last 30 years.

“There are now less than 80,000 of these gentle giants roaming the African plains, this makes every giraffe birth in the breeding program vitally important,” Kaelene said.

Including Kitoto and Armani’s calf, there have been nine giraffes born at Perth Zoo since 1995. The aim is to maintain genetic diversity between the regional populations to provide a safety net against extinction.

“Despite all the excitement over our new calf we wanted to give her plenty of time alone with Kitoto to bond, and then gradually introduced her to new experiences before she was ready to meet the public,” Kaelene said.

“Our calf met Armani on day six and he proved himself to be an excellent dad. Our other giraffe Ellie was a little put out by the young calf at first, but is becoming more comfortable every day.”

The young giraffe was also introduced to the two cheeky Zebras that share her exhibit.

The calf stands more than 160cm in height, but visitors are reminded that she is still a baby and may not be visible in her exhibit at all times as like all infants she tires quickly.

“She’s a pretty brave giraffe and very curious, but she is still adjusting to her surroundings and mum, Kitoto is very protective, so at times they may still retreat to quiet areas, so we ask visitors to be patient when visiting the giraffe exhibit, ” Kaelene said.

“As with all our animals, we recommend a wait, watch and listen approach if the calf is not seen straight away, or if possible a second visit to the exhibit.”

Those wanting to help save giraffes and other endangered wildlife from extinction are encouraged to consider a Zoo adoption package. Funds help the Zoo care for their animals and also contribute to wildlife conservation! More information can be found at: www.perthzoo.com.au

  • Research by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature indicates that there has been a 40% decline in the number of giraffe over the past 30 years.
  • Main threats to giraffe include poaching for bush meat and habitat loss.
  • Perth Zoo is now home to four giraffes, females Ellie, Kitoto and the calf, and male Armani.
  • Kitoto is a first-time mum, but has been very protective in her new role.
  • The calf’s dad, Armani, has previously sired three giraffe calves before our newest arrival.
  • There have been nine giraffes born at Perth Zoo since 1995.
  • One of the most famous photographs, “The Kiss” featured Perth Zoo mum, Misha and her calf Makulu in 1995.