Zoo Watch: Baby giraffe born at Whipsnade Zoo

PUBLISHED: 09:34 13 May 2019 | UPDATED: 09:34 13 May 2019

Baby giraffe Khari was born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

Baby giraffe Khari was born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

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A six-foot tall newborn baby giraffe was recently welcomed into the herd at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo.

Baby giraffe Khari was born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSLBaby giraffe Khari was born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

The baby reticulated giraffe was born at the end of April to first-time mum Luna and dad Bashu. He has been named Khari, which means 'king-like' in Swahili, because of his 'regal-looking ossicones' (the tiny horns on a giraffe's head).

Born as part of the European Breeding Programme for Endangered Species, the calf already stands head and shoulders above most of the zoo's residents at almost six-feet tall.

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ZSL team leader Mark Holden said: "First-time mum Luna is doing a sterling job of looking after Khari - positively doting on her new arrival, while feeding and cleaning him regularly.

Baby giraffe Khari was born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSLBaby giraffe Khari was born at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo. Picture: ZSL

"However, the birth was definitely a family affair; Dad Bashu was rubbing Luna's neck encouragingly during her four-hour labour, while grandmother Ijuma helped to clean the youngster after the birth - and they've all since continued to be very involved in Khari's care."

Giraffe calves way around 150lbs when they're born, more than 20 times the average 7lbs human. Giraffes also give birth standing up, meaning their calves fall six-feet to the ground hooves-first, before learning to walk within an hour.

Mark said: "Khari is a very confident calf, just like his father, Bashu, and is very inquisitive about his new surroundings - he's spent the past week tottering around the Giraffe House exploring every inch of his new home.

"Under his parents' watchful gaze, Khari has even started to tentatively venture outside, so lucky visitors should be able to spot him stretching his legs."

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