A rare giraffe was welcomed into the world with fanfare after its birth at a Connecticut animal conservatory as a video shows the tender moments the baby giraffe is coaxed to take its first steps by its mother.
The female calf was born March 22 to a 6-year-old Rothschild giraffe named Petal at the LEO Zoological Conservation Center in Greenwich, according to The Greenwich Time.
The offspring, who has yet to be given an official name, stands an impressive six feet tall and is the most recent addition to the endangered giraffe subspecies.
Wildlife experts estimate that around a few hundred Rothschild giraffes are still in the wild. With so few numbers experts fear that hybridization, or the interbreeding of giraffe species, could wipe out the subspecies for good.
Marcella Leone, founder and director of LEO Zoological Conservation Center, revealed that the newborn giraffe will soon join five other giraffes in her pen and is expected to top 18 feet when she is fully grown.
British zoologist Lord Walter Rothschild discovered this species of giraffe during an expedition to East Africa in the early 1900s and made detailed observations of the animals in the wild. He noted that the giraffes have no discernible mating period and that they usually give birth to only one live calf.
While the Rothschild giraffe appears to be the same as other giraffe species found in the wild, they have a few variations that set them apart. They do not have any markings on their lower legs and they are also usually taller than other giraffes, but the main difference is that the Rothschild giraffe is the only one to be born with five ossicones— the stubby antler-like protrusions on the top of the animal's head.
Conservationists have tried to slow the depletion of the animal subspecies by initiating various breeding programs. The birth stateside is the first of its kind.