Cute baby alert! Baby giraffe calf, Aella, is now roaming the savanna on the Kilimanjaro Safari ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. Aella is just a little thing at two months old which makes it easy to spot as she is the longest and youngest giraffe in the herd.
Aella was born June 29 and five-feet-tall at birth. Until now, she was bonding and nursing with her mom, Lily in a backstage habitat.
Aella is named after an Amazon warrior. Like her namesake, Aella is brave and bold with a curious and independent spirit. Guests can view her adventurous while on safari when she runs up ahead of her mom.
Aella’s birth marks a first for her parents – mom Lily and dad George. The pair was chosen to breed through the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and ensures responsible breeding of threatened and endangered species. Breeding this pair is important to the long-term survival of the species because it adds more genetic diversity to the giraffe population, which helps ensure future generations.
Aella will nurse for about a year, and then, as a herbivore, she will move to the lush vegetation available throughout the savanna. When full grown, she will use her 18-inch tongue to strip leaves off thorny branches from the tops and sides of trees to consume up to 75 pounds of food a day. That’s a tall order!
The Masai giraffe is a vulnerable species found primarily in Kenya and Tanzania. There are believed to be roughly 32,000 Masai giraffes left in the wild, and their population continues to decline because of poaching and habitat loss.
The Disney Conservation Fund supports conservation efforts in Africa to protect wildlife habitats, including those of giraffes. Earlier this year, several Disney animal care experts went to Uganda to help relocate a herd of giraffes across the Nile River to establish a newer, safer habitat away from oil-drilling fields. Another team went to Kenya to support a giraffe and zebra population census.
When will you see Aella at Disney’s Animal Kingdom? Let us know in the comments below!
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Image/Source Credit: Disney