Chester Zoo celebrates birth of rare giraffe

A zoo is celebrating the "joyous" birth of a rare giraffe which it said was one of the world's most at-risk mammals.

The 6ft (1.8m) tall newcomer arrived after falling on to a bed of straw following mother Orla's labour lasting more than three hours.

There are fewer than 2,500 of the sub-species of giraffe in the wild, the zoo said.

Zookeepers are yet to determine the calf's gender but said it already weighed more than 11 stone (70kg) but would grow to be more than 18ft (5.5m) tall and weigh 157 stone (1,000kg).

Footage shows the calf falling from height following a 472-day pregnancy.

The youngster can then be seen stumbling to its feet and suckling from its mother for the first time, all within 30 minutes of being born.

Zookeeper Rosie Owen, who was one of the first to see the new arrival, said: "So far mum and baby are doing really well and, at just two days old, they're spending some quiet time getting to know one another."

She said the birth was a boost to help safeguard the species after the International Union for the Conservation of Nature listed the Rothschild's giraffe as vulnerable.

She said: "For many years giraffes underwent a silent extinction across Africa, with their declining numbers flying completely under the radar.

"But now, thanks to the international conservation breeding programme in zoos, paired with efforts in the wild to protect the remaining populations, numbers are slowly starting to bounce back in Uganda, Africa, where we're working alongside our partners."

She added: "Together, we're helping to create a future where the world's tallest animal can thrive well into the future."

The species are named after Lord Walter Rothschild, founder of the National History Museum in Tring, Hertfordshire.

They are identified by their broader dividing white lines.