Baby giraffe receives specialized care after illness at San Diego Zoo Safari Park

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – A baby giraffe at the San Diego zoo was expected to live Tuesday after animal care staff at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park labored day and night to nurse him back to heath.

The baby, named Baridi, was born last month but became extremely ill with a severe infection that made it impossible for him to stand. He was quickly admitted to the Paul Harter Veterinary Medical Center at the Safari Park, where he was given fluids through an IV and around the clock care.

“Taking care of Baridi has been a very rewarding experience for all of us keepers,” said Lissa McCaffree, lead keeper in the Animal Care Center nursery at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park. “He’s been a pleasure to work with. He has a great personality, and we looked forward to feeding him every day.”

Nursery staff members said Baridi will soon be strong enough to join the herd’s other four young giraffes — Congo, Siri, Yamikani and Kafele — in the East Africa exhibit, where they are often seen together in a crèche, or nursery group.

It is typical for young giraffes to stay together in a herd while their moms forage. The Safari Park’s giraffe breeding program has produced more than 164 giraffe calves since the Park opened in 1972.

Giraffes, sometimes called the watchtowers of the savanna, are disappearing, largely as they live: silently. In many African countries, giraffe populations are slowly decreasing because of poaching, habitat loss and overgrazing of resources by livestock.

In the past 15 years, overall numbers have declined so much that two giraffe subspecies — the West African or Nigerian giraffe and the Rothschild’s giraffe — are now endangered.


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