One of the best things about my role at Disney’s Animal Kingdom is helping people celebrate the magic of nature every day. And today I want to share an exciting milestone as we celebrate the recent birth of a Masai giraffe calf. Appropriate news to share on the longest day of the year, don’t you think?
It’s a boy – a big boy! The healthy, long-legged calf towers nearly six feet tall and weighs in at 183 pounds! Born on June 10, he’s playful, curious and pretty chill, spending lots of time nuzzling with mom, Lily, in a backstage barn. He’s a special guy with a unique butterfly marking over his right shoulder and heart-shaped markings dotting his coat.
The different size and color markings on giraffes camouflage them on the savanna and distinguish the different subspecies. Masai giraffes, seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris, typically have a lacy-edged spot pattern that resembles oak leaves.
A heartfelt congratulations to our devoted animal care team for this latest animal birth at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. It marks another success for the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan Program that oversees responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species. Giraffes are a vulnerable species facing a silent extinction in the wild, with a population decline of 40 percent over the past 30 years. There are roughly 35,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild, and their population continues to decline due to poaching and habitat destruction.
We are overjoyed to share this video of our new calf with his mom. The pair are doing well and staying close together as they bond. Park guests will be able to see Lily and her adorable calf on Kilimanjaro Safaris in the coming weeks when the pair joins the rest of the herd on the savanna.
To learn more about giraffes, visit DisneyAnimals.com.