Zoo hails arrival of new giraffe baby

She may be just a baby, but giraffe calf Ruby is already taller than many human beings and she is only six days old. Born on Friday - in the same week that Banham Zoo opened its new £400,000 giraffe house - the female calf is strong and healthy and was delivered by first time mum Aisling without any complications.

She may be just a baby, but giraffe calf Ruby is already taller than many human beings and she is only 13 days old.

Born in the same week that Banham Zoo opened its new £400,000 giraffe house - the female calf is strong and healthy and was delivered by first time mum Aisling without any complications. It is no mean feat when the baby is already close to six feet tall and will soon tower above her keepers.

The birth also marks a first for the zoo. But unfortunately Ruby's mother did not show the strong maternal instinct required to care for the calf and the youngster is now being hand reared.

Senior animal manager Gary Batters said: "It is a little disappointing but not unusual for a new mother to fail to rear her first calf. Aisling was very nervous and would not let her feed.


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"I am confident she will learn from the experience. She will remain in close proximity to the calf as she grows and this will help her if she gives birth in the future."

The new giraffe house, which features a raised walkway, is the biggest investment yet for the zoo which started out as a small collection of colourful pheasants on the Goymour family's farm, and has developed into one of the UK's top wildlife

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parks, attracting more than 200,000 visitors annually.

Zoo director, Martin Goymour is a keen conservationist, and is especially proud of Banham's success in becoming the first in the UK to breed endangered Sri Lankan leopards. He has likened modern day zoos to a "flotilla of arks" working together to help ensure the survival of species whose wildlife habitat is being destroyed by mankind.

The new giraffe has been named Ruby to in honour of the zoo's 40th birthday which was celebrated on Saturday, March 15.

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