Giraffe 'laboured for two hours' before giving birth naturally to 5ft 7ins baby

An endangered Rothschild’s giraffe has been born at Belfast Zoo on Sunday 24 July 2022.

By Gemma Murray
Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:15 am
Updated Tuesday, 2nd August 2022, 10:17 am

According to the Zoo, proud mum Casey, 'laboured for two hours and gave birth naturally at 2.30pm inside the giraffe house'.

Zookeepers report that the male calf is doing well and that Casey is doing a great job.

Casey is a second time mum, after giving birth to Ballyronan in May 2020.

Baby giraffe Ballyhenry

Belfast Zoo traditionally names giraffes after places beginning with “Bally”.

The male Rothschild’s giraffe calf is named Ballyhenry, a townland in County Antrim, which was chosen by Curator Raymond Robinson.

New-born giraffes usually weigh around 100kg and are around 5 feet 9 inches tall, but little Henry measures 5 feet 7inches.

Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the most endangered giraffe subspecies.

Baby giraffe Ballyhenry

Estimates suggest that only around 2,000 remain in the wild, due to illegal hunting for meat and hide and a continuing loss of habitat.

Sustained conservation action has helped the general giraffe population move from ‘endangered’ status to ‘near threatened’ on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List, but the Rothschild’s giraffe subspecies remains endangered.

Alyn Cairns, Zoo Manager, said “We’re delighted to welcome little Henry to the herd at Belfast Zoo.

"We first welcomed Rothschild’s giraffes in 1988 and have since celebrated the birth of 39 calves.

Baby giraffe Ballyhenry with his family

"We’re proud to participate in a European breeding programme and collaborate with zoos around the world.

"Our breeding success helps to ensure that that there is a ‘safety net’ population of this endangered subspecies.”

Visitors can see the new calf and its herd at the giraffe house or outside in the giraffe paddock at Belfast Zoo daily from 10am until 6pm (last entry is currently 4.30pm).