Zookeepers at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park introduced two male giraffe calves to the rest of the herd in the field exhibit on Tuesday after previously keeping them in a separate enclosure for the past four months.
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The calves were born earlier this year on Jan. 27 and Feb. 22. The first is the offspring of its mother Acacia and father Habari, the second was born to Gasira and Robert. Both required specialized care and bottle-feedings three times per day due to health issues. Keepers separated them from the herd in a “boma” enclosure.
The older calf suffered from inflammation in his throat and nasal cavity, making it difficult for him to nurse from his mother. He was then brought to the Safari Park’s Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Center to be cared for.
By introducing them back to the field, keepers hope they’ll fold into the giraffe herd and learn social skills. The calves interacted with the other giraffes as well as with the ostriches that the habitat.
Giraffe populations have decreased by 40 percent in the past 30 years, Safari Park officials said. They are on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service endangered list and the International Union for Conservation of Nature lists them as “vulnerable.”
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