Rare Rothschild Giraffe Subspecies Born At Connecticut Zoo [VIDEO]

on March 24 2013 11:54 PM
Rothschild's Giraffe
The baby Rothschild's giraffe bonds with its mother, Petal. YouTube

A rare giraffe that stands almost 6 feet tall and is a member of an endangered subspecies was born Friday at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, Conn.

Its 6-year-old mother Petal, a Rothschild's giraffe, gave birth to a female calf while other giraffes and staff members at the conservation center watched, the Greenwich Time reported.

The calf has yet to be named.

Marcella Leone, the founder and director of the conservation center, said the baby giraffe is curious, even appearing to be investigating humans in its first days of life.

When the newborn is fully grown, she will socialize with a group of five giraffes, two of whom are pregnant. She could grow to be as tall as 18 feet high. 

The young calf is the first giraffe to be born at the conservation center.

Rothschild's giraffes were first described -- and named -- by Lord Walter Rothschild, a British zoologist, following an expedition to East Africa in the early 1900s, according to the Greenwich Time.

Only a few hundred Rothschild's giraffes exist in the wild, and they are considered to be members of one of the most endangered giraffe subspecies. Among the things that distinguish them from other giraffes are the orange-brown patches on their coats, which are more dark and less jagged and sharp.

Rothschild's giraffes are also the only subspecies born with five ossicones, the hornlike knobs on the tops of all giraffes’ heads. In addition, they are taller than many other subspecies, and they don’t have any markings on their lower legs. 

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