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First outing for rare Giraffe calf at UK's Chester Zoo leaves great impression

A little baby giraffe, born last Thursday, watches in front of its mother at the zoo in Gelsenkirchen, Germany, Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.   -  
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Martin Meissner/AP


A rare two-week-old giraffe calf has ventured out for the fist time at the UK's Chester Zoo. She already stands at more than 6ft tall and weighs 100kg, and zookeepers have named her ‘Edie.’

Just 2,500 Rothschild’s giraffes remain on the planet, but increased protection efforts from the zoo and its partners have seen numbers rise in Uganda for four consecutive years.

The newcomer stepped out for the first time alongside new mum Orla, dad Meru and the other eight Rothschild’s giraffes in the herd.

Edie is named after Lake Edward in Uganda, one of the African Great Lakes, and is inspired by the zoo’s conservation efforts in the country.

Conservationists at the zoo say Edie is an important addition to the international conservation breeding programme, which is working to secure the future of the species.

The Rothschild’s giraffe has been almost totally eradicated from Kenya, Uganda and Sudan as a result of habitat loss and hunting for their meat. The species now only survives in small, isolated populations, making them one of the most endangered subspecies of giraffe on Earth.

However, a new census carried out in Uganda in 2023 is giving conservationists reason to be optimistic.

The new data has revealed that Rothschild’s giraffe numbers in two national parks, where the zoo and its partners are working to safeguard the species, has risen for the fourth consecutive year.