A baby giraffe, whose birth was featured on BBC’s Animal Park, has finally made her first public appearance at Longleat – four months later than expected.
Keepers had anticipated the Rothschild’s giraffe, named Thea, would be born back in May.
However she kept everyone waiting at the Wiltshire safari park and didn’t actually arrive until the end of August. She then spent the first few weeks of her life in a separate enclosure with her mother Ella before finally venturing out into the main reserve this month.
Thea is Ella’s fifth baby and keepers are delighted with the care and attention she is lavishing on her calf.
Longleat’s Ryan Hockley said: “Thea arrived a little later than we had expected however Ella is a brilliant mum, she’s very attentive but also knows when to step back and allow the calf to explore the world on her own.
“It’s always a huge moment for the calf when she ventures out in to the main reserve for the first time and meets the other giraffe and zebra but Thea seems to be taking it all in her stride and is clearly very confident,” he added.
The Rothschild’s giraffe has been officially designated as Near Threatened in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species which means it may be threatened with extinction in the near future.
Fully grown male giraffes can grow to heights in excess of five and a half metres and they can reach speeds of up to 56 kilometres per hour.