New baby giraffe is ‘vital’ for conservation, Whipsnade Zoo says

Whipsnade Zoo has shared new footage of its latest arrival, a six-foot-tall baby giraffe named Wilfred.

Wilfred was born on Remembrance Day (Friday 11 November) to mother Luna and father Bashu, and is the female giraffe’s third calf.

The zoo has revealed footage and photographs of the baby just hours after he was born, which show him spending time bonding with his parents.

Wilfred’s birth was celebrated by keepers and conservationists at Whipsnade as a “vital addition to the international conservation breeding programme for reticulated giraffes”.

This species of giraffe is classified as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) red list.

Deputy team leader Michael Hepher said: “Wilfred is Luna’s third calf and she has been a wonderful, attentive mum as always, alongside dad Bashu, who has also been very caring – leaning down to lick and clean the youngster.

“We’ll be giving mum, dad and calf some quiet time in their behind-the-scenes barn over the next week, but they’ll soon join grandma Ijuma, sister Nuru and the rest of the close-knit family herd who will show him all the vital giraffe skills he needs to learn.

“It is always wonderful to meet a brand new member of the herd but there is extra significance to Wilfred’s birth, as his arrival boosts the number of this beautiful, endangered species.”

Wilfred the baby giraffe at Whipsnade Zoo (Whipsnade Zoo)
Wilfred the baby giraffe at Whipsnade Zoo (Whipsnade Zoo)

Hepher added that Wilfred is the largest newborn giraffe he has ever seen.

“He’s certainly a big boy,” he said. “We haven’t officially measured him yet, but he’s definitely taller than me and I’m six foot!”

Newborn giraffes typically measure around six-foot at birth and can weight between 50kg to 70kg. Adult male giraffes grow to an average 18 feet, while females can be up to 14 feet tall.

Giraffe pregnancies last for 15 months and they give birth standing up, which means babies fall from a three-foot height when they enter the world.