Brookfield Zoo’s latest born giraffe, Kinda, made its public debut on earlier this month alongside her mother Anrieta.
Kinda was born on Aug. 19 and is the 60th giraffe born at the zoo since 1940.
Visitors can now see Kinda and her mother Anrieta, two Reticulated Giraffes, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the zoo’s Habitat Africa! The Savannah.
Her name is of Swahili and Arabic origins means “beautiful.” Her weight and behavior so far are indicators of good health, said Joan Daniels, senior director of hoofed mammal care and conservation.
Kinda also represents an important milestone for North America’s giraffe population, ambassadors for wild giraffes that teach the public about the species and its state in their natural habitats from many zoos.
“The wild population is really struggling right now and they are considered an endangered species,” Daniels said. Seeing a giraffe in a zoo can help people learn about the decline in giraffe populations and garner support for conservation research and needed protective measures.
Kinda’s birth came after an almost 15-month wait with the zoo’s staff, veterinary team and reproductive experts from Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium carefully monitoring Arnetia’s health during pregnancy. She received treatment to prevent miscarriages that could have been related to lack of hormone production or a possible infection.
On Aug. 19, around 3 a.m., the zoo’s care team saw Arnieta give birth to her 6-foot-tall and approximately 130-pound calf. Shortly after the birth, the calf stood up and began nursing from her attentive mother.
After the birth, the mother and daughter duo spent several weeks away from public view and the rest of the herd. In their natural habitat, that is what the mother would do to have time to develop a maternal bond with its calf. During this time, Kinda spent time nursing, learning to follow her mother and resting. Like human babies, nap time is important for the giraffe calf to grow and develop, Daniels said.
Last week, Kinda was introduced to two giraffes, including a young female who has become her play partner.
“They’ve been doing a lot of running around and we see a lot of play behavior between the two of them,” Daniels said.
While Kinda’s diet mainly consists of milk, she has started sampling solid foods like cuttings of tree branches with live leaves and alfalfa hay. Soon, she’ll start sampling chopped produce and lettuce.
Over the years, Brookfield Zoo has contributed to research and data gathering on giraffes born in conservation. This data is critical not only for the zoo, but for other conservation organizations dedicated to keeping a healthy sustainable giraffe population in North America.
Wild giraffe populations in Africa have rapidly declined over the last three decades, according to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. The international conservation organization estimates the current Africa-wide giraffe population at about 117,000 individuals, a drop of almost 30% from the 1980s. Habitat loss, climate change and poaching are threats to the survival of some giraffe subspecies, including Reticulated Giraffes like Kinda. In 2018, they were listed as Endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.