Mogo Zoo celebrated the Australia Day long weekend with the arrival of a 1.8-metre baby.
Visitors to the South Coast attraction witnessed one of the zoo’s Rothschild’s giraffes experiencing the first stages of labour last Thursday.
Respecting mother-to-be Shani’s privacy, zookeepers then took her to the comfort of her night house, where she gave birth to a healthy female calf who weighed in at 120kilograms.
Mogo Zoo general manager John Appleby said within 15minutes of its arrival the calf made her first attempt to stand and within 40 minutes was taking her first few awkward steps.
Within an hour she was suckling from her experienced mum.
It was the third time Shani had given birth at the zoo.
Her first was born on the same date (January 24) in 2010.
Three years later a more confident Shani wasted little time introducing baby number three to the rest of the giraffe family, who all gathered to welcome the new addition.
Mr Appleby said the arrival of the third pure Rothschild’s giraffe in three years was important, as the zoo continued to play a major role in the global breeding program for the second most endangered giraffe sub-species.
It also follows the recent introduction of the zoo’s newest breeding female (Tanzi) from Melbourne Zoo.
There have only been 14 pure bred Rothschild’s giraffes born in Australasia in the last 20 years and there are as few as 300 left in the world.
Breeding is a long slow process because the gestation period of a Rothschild’s giraffe is between 400 and 460 days.