Purdy the giraffe at the Lion Park in Lansearia, gave birth yesterday. The baby dropped 2m to the ground, knocking it to life. The newborn lay there, breathing and kicking.
But Purdy - was only vaguely interested in her offspring, sniffing it briefly before wandering off.
The baby giraffe woud have to be bottle-fed. But it took five people to control the newborn as they tried to feed her a mixture of milk and egg yolk. She bucked and kicked, less than 12 hours old and already as tall as a man. Eventually, she latched onto the teat and grew quiet, her wide eyes as big as fists as she had her first meal. The palm-sized ears darted furtively as her handlers stroked the teddy-bear fur and wiped away the dribble of mucas round her nose.
In time she'll take to one staff member, and that person will be able to do everthing with her.
For the next seven to eight months she'll drink about 20 litres of the milky and egg mixture maily and receive supplementry vitamin B shots.
I won't be until around March that she will leave her small pen for the enclosure where Purdy roams.
Once there, she'll learn how to browse like an adult giraffe in the wild, but it will always be a life in captivity for the new arrival.
For now, she had drunk her full and she was wrestled to the ground. She blinked her kohlringed eyes and lay her head down.
The Lion Park boasts eight large carnivore species, including lions, hyenas, cheetahs and jackals, and other animals such as black wildebeest and giraffes, which roam freely in a large antelope area.
The baby giraffe hasn't been named yet.
Have any ideas for the name? E-mail your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I posted this from an article in The Star, written by Kristen van Schie.