Baby giraffe's nervous first steps

AIMEE GULLIVER
Last updated 13:13 28/08/2013
DANIEL GALVIN/Fairfax NZ

Auckland Zoo's new baby giraffe Shira takes her first walk with mother Rukiya, in her enclosure.

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Auckland Zoo's baby giraffe Shira had her first outing in her new enclosure this morning, accompanied by her mother, Rukiya.

Zookeeper David Crimp said it was an exciting occasion, and great to see them both checking out the surroundings.

Shira was born on August 3 and was named after one of the volcanic cones of Mount Kilamanjaro. She is 1.7m tall.

Shira is the zoo's 31st giraffe calf - the last one was born on January 16, 2012, also to 10-year-old mum Rukiya and 13-year-old Zabulu.

Shira arrived following a labour of less than three hours – Rukiya's fastest delivery to date.

The zoo waited until Shira was just over three-weeks-old and used to her stilt-like legs before letting the outing go ahead.

Shira and Rukiya were the only animals in the paddock with zoo staff planning to introduce the rest of the giraffe herd gradually, then include the zebra and ostriches they will share the enclosure with.

"Then we'll have a fully integrated paddock and it will be a great time for people to come see them," Crimp said.

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