Two baby giraffes have recently been welcomed to the world on an island just off the coast of Abu Dhabi.
The little ones were born on Sir Bani Yas – which is an award-winning nature and wildlife island reserve. One is a little girl who could grow to be 4.5 metres and the other a boy who could reach 5.5 metres.
Despite the likes of Oryx, gazelles, deer, ostriches, cheetahs and other giraffes already on the island, the birth is a big deal as it brings the number of its species there to 37.
The Reticulated Giraffe calves were born after a gestation period of 15 months and they’re expected to nurse for about a year. The patchy creatures must stay with their mothers for approximately a further year before they go off on their own.
Long neck and all, they can run at up to 56 kilometres per hour.
These newborns, whose names have not yet been revealed, can be spotted roaming the 4,100 hectare Arabian Wildlife Par. They can go for weeks without water and their food of choice is leaves and buds from the tops of trees.
‘We are pleased to welcome these latest additions to our wildlife family,’ Marius Prinsloo, General Manager of Sir Bani Yas Corporate Operations, said. ‘The healthy calves are a result of our breeding and monitoring programmes that ensure the Island as a haven for diverse wildlife population.
‘Since the breeding programme’s inception on Sir Bani Yas, the Island has successfully contributed Reticulated Giraffes to various reserves and private institutions across the UAE. This contribution offered a great range of opportunities to raise awareness about these unique mammals.’
You can get to the 87-square kilometre island on a short direct flight from Abu Dhabi and Dubai through Rotana Jet. Alternatively there are boat transfers from Jebel Dhanna in the Western Region.
Developed into a wildlife reserve by the late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan over 13,000 free-roaming animals and birds call the island home.