Big news for the Kilimanjaro Safari at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – our newest giraffe calves have ventured out onto the savanna for the first time. Mara, Milo and Lincoln are 3-, 4- and 5-months old, respectively, and are doing very well in their new home.
Although on our savanna, the giraffe don’t have to be concerned with predators, we want to make sure they are old enough to follow their mothers and family, so our animal keepers keep them backstage until they are old enough to feel secure. In the wild, giraffe calves have to learn how to follow their mothers in case there is danger.
Of the nine subspecies of giraffe, Masai giraffe are the amongst most populous in the wild at about 35,000, but sadly reports of increased poaching for their meat, hide and tails are leading to significant reductions. Two of the other subspecies are already critically endangered. When you see them on the savanna, note their spots – Masai giraffe have leafy, uneven spots. At Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, you will find reticulated giraffe that have smooth-edged spots.
Giraffe are very curious, observant animals that like to survey their land very carefully. This makes “every day a new day” for giraffe. They will notice if there are any new additions to the savannah, including other animals or changes to the landscape. This is true in the wild as well; because giraffe are so tall and pay such close attention to their surroundings, other animals use them as safety indicators.
The next time you visit Disney’s Animal Kingdom, we hope you see Lincoln, Milo and Mara on the savanna at Kilimanjaro Safaris. They will probably be close to their moms, learning all they need to know to grow to adulthood.