In the last week of February, Toronto Zoo welcomed a new — and lanky — addition to the family. And now he has a name! Born at the same time as the horrific events were esculating in Ukraine, the zoo has chosen the name Matumaini for the newborn giraffe — which means hope in Swahili — intended as an offering of hope for a peaceful resolution.
The calf and mother are both healthy, happy and leggy — the newborn calf was able to stand within an hour and a half after being born and was soon seen nursing. This is the second offspring for both mother Mstari, born at Toronto Zoo in 2013, and father Kiko, a nine-year-old male. The pairing of Kiko and Mstari was at the recommendation of the AZA Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan, a cooperative breeding program among accredited zoos. The pair’s first calf, Amani — meaning peace in Swahili — was born 22 months ago, and is apparently curious about her new sibling. While seperated from her mother during the birthing process, she is able to smell and hear the new calf, and will be reintroduced once Mstari and Matumaini have forged a strong bond.
In December 2018, the conservation status of Masai giraffes was elevated to Endangered by the International Union for Conservation and Nature. Fewer than 35,000 Masai giraffes survive in the wild, having experienced more than a 50 percent decline in the past 30 years. Illegal hunting and habitat loss are their primary threats. The birth of Matumaini, therefore, is indeed a sign of hope.
Who lives on a volcano under the sea?