Auckland Zoo's leggy little lass takes first day out in her stride

Auckland Zoo's new "cheeky" giraffe has taken her first steps.

The calf, which was born premature, weighing 46.4kg, on New year's Eve, ventured out into the park on Sunday with mother Kiraka.

"So this morning we let the little calf in the outside exhibit for the first time," Nat Sullivan, Pridelands team leader said.

"She's come out with her aunty and her brother, as well as mum. It's all gone really well. She's taken it in her stride. She's investigating a wee bit. Sticking really close to mum, which is nice. Mum's being nice and protective. What we like to see.

"She's a little bit cheeky. She'll run up to [other giraffes], then run back to mum for a bit of security.

"Her brother is really interested in her and likes following her around a little bit. Her aunty Rukiya is a bit less tolerant. She's a bit of a grumpy old lady and sometimes gets a little bit annoyed that there is a youngster running around her feet.

But it's all good."

The next big step for the calf is to meet her father. "They've met over fences.. there is certainly no aggression. We wouldn't expect any aggression. Just one step at a time."

The calf had a twin brother but he was unable to suckle and failed to form a bond with Kiraka. The zoo made the heart-breaking decision to euthanase him.

The birth of twin giraffes is rare with only 30 cases documented worldwide.

- NZ Herald

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