Escondido, California - Animal care staff opened the gates to an in-exhibit care area this morning and a two-week-old male Ugandan giraffe slowly followed his mother, Chinde (pronounced Shin-dey), into the East Africa habitat at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. The lanky calf hesitantly left the area where he has lived since he was born on June 22. With his comparatively short legs, the calf had to run to keep up with his mother’s long, slow strides as she led him to a watering hole, where the other giraffes in the exhibit came to sniff and lick the new member of the herd.
Keepers named the calf Congo, after the river in Africa. Congo measures more than six feet tall and weighs approximately 200 pounds. All giraffe numbers are declining, but of the nine giraffe subspecies, the Ugandan giraffe is the only one that is endangered. It is believed that fewer than 700 of this subspecies remain in only a few small, isolated populations in Kenya and Uganda.
San Diego Zoo Global is partnering with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to help conserve giraffe in East Africa. In 2015, a team of scientists from the San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research has been developing a conservation project that will include Kenyan pastoralists, to find ways to collaborate and protect giraffes in the savanna.
Congo is the 161st giraffe born at the Safari Park since the facility opened in 1972. The giraffe calf and his mother can be seen with the 10 other members of their herd from the Africa Tram Safari, Caravan Safari, Cart Safari and from the lookout at Kalima Point. Now through Aug. 16, Safari Park guests can enjoy amazing animals like Congo during extended summer hours from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily, along with special Asian-themed entertainment at Summer Safari Asian Celebration. Summer Safari Asian Celebration is included with Safari Park admission and membership.
Bringing species back from the brink of extinction is the goal of San Diego Zoo Global. As a leader in conservation, the work of San Diego Zoo Global includes onsite wildlife conservation efforts (representing both plants and animals) at the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park, and San Diego Zoo Institute for Conservation Research, as well as international field programs on six continents. The work of these entities is inspiring children through the San Diego Zoo Kids network, reaching out through the Internet and in children’s hospitals nationwide. The work of San Diego Zoo Global is made possible by the San Diego Zoo Global Wildlife Conservancy and is supported in part by the Foundation of San Diego Zoo Global.