The Italian Almanac

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baby giraffe

Italian News - August 31

A baby giraffe born unexpectedly at Rome's zoo this month is to be transferred to a nature reserve in Africa, officials at the Rome Biopark announced. Under a strict policy imposed by the city council, wild animals at Rome's zoo are never allowed to reproduce on the grounds that their young will be forced into an unnatural lifestyle.

Most of the animals that the zoo hosts were born elsewhere and then 'rescued' by the zoo authorities at a certain point in their lives. In line with this policy two female giraffes were transferred last June from an overcrowded zoo in the Czech Republic. It was not known at the time that one of them was pregnant.

Giraffes who are expecting babies do not become noticeably fatter, so it was complete surprise on August 13 when a baby, weighing 70 kilos and measuring 170 cm from hoof to horns, was born. That left the zoo authorities with the problem of what to do with an animal they believed it unethical to keep.

In the end they decided that, unable to release it into the wild, where it might have trouble surviving, they would do the next best thing. "We have a duty to give this newborn a better future so we have decided to transfer her to an African reserve," said Rome Biopark president Giovanni Arnone.

Arnone said he intended to invite Roman school children to enter a competition to see who could write the best composition on the subject of nature. The six winners will be allowed to accompany the young giraffe on its journey to Africa.