Wildlife World Zoo, Aquarium & Safari Park in Litchfield Park is celebrating the holiday season with the birth of Noel, a baby reticulated giraffe who arrived just before Christmas.
Just a few days old, she’s already taller than 6 feet, zoo officials said in a release.
Female giraffes have a gestation of up to 15 months, one of the longest gestations in the animal kingdom.
“The calf is thriving under the close watch of her attentive mother. Over the next few weeks, keepers will begin to introduce mother and baby to the rest of the herd,” Wildlife World Deputy Director Jack Ewert said.
In the wild, the giraffe population is under a lot of pressure, largely due to habitat loss, fragmentation, degradation, poaching and ultimately the growth of the human population, officials stated. Giraffes are declared Vulnerable to Extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.
Joining in the fight to save the giraffe population from extinction, Wildlife World has not only donated to worthy organizations working to preserve these gentle giants but has also raised 13 giraffes in the last 19 years. The giraffes are ambassadors for their species and inspire visitors to conserve and protect their wild counterparts.
Mickey Ollson, founder of the Wildlife World Zoo, believes the success of the zoo’s internationally recognized giraffe breeding program is due to the expertise and dedication from its management, keepers, veterinary team and Arizona’s ideal climate conditions, which are similar to the savannas throughout Africa.
Keepers and veterinarians at the facility have raised dozens of species of wild and endangered animals over the past quarter century.
Wildlife World strives to maximize genetic diversity in the zoological population with their breeding programs, the release stated.
As an USDA-licensed, private institution, accredited by the Zoological Association of America and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquarium, Wildlife World receives zero taxpayer funding. No tax dollars have ever been spent to build or operate Wildlife World in its 35-year history.
The facility, 16501 W. Northern Ave., on the southeast corner of Loop 303 and Northern, is open daily, including holidays.
Zoo exhibits are open 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with last zoo admission 4:30. Aquarium exhibits are open 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Admission includes access to the Zoo, Aquarium and Safari Park.
For more information visit wildlifeworld.com or call 623-935-9453, and follow @ZooWildlife on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.