Changing Planet

Giraffe calves born at Walt Disney’s Animal Kingdom

Two male calves have been added to the giraffe herd at Walt Disney World Resort’s Animal Kingdom in Florida.

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Weighing 153 pounds, Bolo (in the picture above) was born October 12 to second-time mother Big Girl, who first birthed a female calf in November 2005, Disney said on its Web site. “On October 5, the Disney’s Animal Programs team helped to deliver 166-pound calf Bruehler from third-time mother Aibuni.”

As newborns, both male calves stand nearly six feet tall and could grow to be as tall as 15 to18 feet as adults, Disney added.

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

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Like people, giraffes have seven neck vertebrae bones, although an adult giraffe’s neck alone can measure up to 7 feet, and its tongue can be as long as 18 inches.

Bolo and Bruehler and their mothers appear to be doing well, according to Animal Kingdom veterinarians and animal care managers. “The young males, who began nursing successfully soon after birth, are already feisty and very active.”

“The next important milestone is for the calves to continue the bonding process with their mothers who will teach them important lessons and guide them as they are introduced to the herd in the coming weeks,” said Matt Hohne, Animal Operations Director at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.

The latest calves are the 13th and 14th giraffes born at Disney’s Animal Kingdom since opening in 1998. Giraffes at Walt Disney World Resort are bred through the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) Population Management Plan, which is a consortium of zoos and wildlife parks working together to conserve and breed animals.  

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Photo courtesy of Walt Disney World Resort

Forty years in U.S., UK, and South African media gives David Braun global perspective and experience across multiple storytelling platforms. His coverage of science, nature, politics, and technology has been published/broadcast by the BBC, CNN, NPR, AP, UPI, National Geographic, TechWeb, De Telegraaf, Travel World, and Argus South African Newspapers. He has published two books and won several journalism awards. He has 120,000 followers on social media. David Braun edits the National Geographic Society blog, hosting a global discussion on issues resonating with the Society's mission and initiatives. He also directs the Society side of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship, awarded to Americans seeking the opportunity to spend nine months abroad, engaging local communities and sharing stories from the field with a global audience. Follow David on Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

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