The morning of New Year's Eve, Auckland Zoo welcomed the arrival of twin giraffe calves born to 7-year-old mother, Kiraka.

This event is extremely rare in giraffes with a little over 30 documented cases worldwide.

This is a bitter-sweet announcement, as unfortunately, the twins were born prematurely and both relatively light in bodyweight. The female calf managed to stand and start suckling quite early, however the male was very weak, unable to suckle or function independently and did not form a bond with Kiraka.

"Despite the great efforts of all involved, the male's post-birth complications became untreatable and we took the very difficult decision on welfare grounds to euthanase the young male calf yesterday (Monday) morning," says curator of mammals Warren Spencer.  

"Things are looking much more positive with the female calf; she has developed a strong bond with her mother and we are optimistic for the days ahead.  

Auckland Zoo's Pridelands and vet teams will be continuing to monitor the female calf closely. Keep checking the zoos website, Facebook and Twitter for more information.


Rare giraffe twins born

In this week’s Zoo Tales, Pridelands team leader Nat Sullivan talks about the arrival of the twins, and why it has been such an emotional and physically exhausting experience, but also one of the most privileged of her career.

Giraffe twins birth Facts:

  1. ​Twin giraffe calves (one male, one female) born 2.30am, Saturday 31 December
  2. Mum is ​7-year-old Kiraka, Dad is 19-year-old Zabulu
  3. This is the third pregnancy for Kiraka
  4. After pregnancies of 15 months, giraffes are born by dropping 6 or 7 feet out of the womb with the mother standing up. They're usually able to stand up and nurse within 30 minutes after birth, the male was unable to do this.
  5. The female calf has developed a bond with Kiraka and started suckling quite early.
  6. The male calf was very weak and did not form a bond with Kiraka.
  7. Despite the tireless dedication of the Pridelands and vet teams, the male calf did not improve and the difficult decision was made to humanely euthanase.