Odd News Endangered giraffe born in U.K.'s Belfast Zoo

Endangered giraffe born in U.K.’s Belfast Zoo

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Ballyhenry, an endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, was recently born at a Northern Ireland zoo, giving continuing hope to the species’ conservation efforts. Photo courtesy of Belfast Zoo

Aug. 3 (BP) — An endangered giraffe calf was recently born in the U.K.’s Belfast Zoo, the largest zoo in Northern Ireland.

Ballyhenry, a male Rothschild’s giraffe, was born this past Sunday, according to a statement from the Belfast Zoo.

He is named after a town in a town Northern Ireland’s County Antrim.

Ballyhenry’s mother, Casey, gave birth following two hours of labor, the zoo said, and had her calf naturally.

Casey previously gave birth to another calf, Ballyronan, in May 2020.

Mother and calf are both doing well, with the zoo saying that Casey “is doing a great job.”

Both Casey and Ballyhenry are now on display, and visitors to the Belfast Zoo can see the pair either in the giraffe house or their outdoor paddock.

“We’re delighted to welcome little Henry to the herd at Belfast Zoo,” said zoo manager Alyn Cairns. “We first welcomed Rothschild’s giraffes in 1988 and have since celebrated the birth of 39 calves. We’re proud to participate in a European breeding program and collaborate with zoos around the world. Our breeding success helps to ensure that that there is a ‘safety net’ population of this endangered subspecies.”

While giraffes as a whole are classified as “vulnerable” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Rothschild’s giraffes, a northern subspecies, are in particular danger.

The Belfast Zoo said that “only around 2,000 [Rothschild’s giraffes] remain in the wild,” with the IUCN estimating in 2018 that the number may be as low as 1,400.

Much of the endangerment stems from illegal hunting for meat, as well as poaching and continuing habitat loss, the zoo said.

Despite this, conservation efforts, such as the one being undertaken by the Belfast Zoo, have “helped the general giraffe population move from ‘endangered’ status to ‘near threatened'” on the IUCN list, though the Rothchild’s subspecies is still listed as endangered.

Ballyhenry is one of a number of endangered species that have given birth to babies in recent weeks.

Seneca Park Zoo in Rochester, N.Y., welcomed a calf from another giraffe subspecies, the Masai giraffe, for the second time this year in July.

Another Irish zoo, the Fota Wildlife Park, saw the birth of three endangered Black and white ruffled lemurs.

The Dudley Zoo, another U.K.-based zoo, said that it had recently welcomed a new orangutan baby, the second born at the zoo in four weeks.

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