The animal residents at Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme park at Walt Disney World have been treating us to such a steady stream of precious newborn animals lately that it’s almost too much cuteness to handle. Just last month, some lucky guests on board the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride witnessed the birth of a baby zebra. This week, we got our first look at the newest animal addition to Disney’s Animal Kingdom, a Masai giraffe calf.
Scott Terrell, director of animal and science operations for Walt Disney Parks & Resorts, announced the arrival of the male calf in a Disney Parks Blog post on June 21. The strapping boy is nearly 6 feet tall, weighs 183 pounds, and is absolutely adorable. Just look at his big, beautiful eyes and sweet face.
The calf, who has yet to be named, has been spending time backstage bonding with his mom, Lily, who has a beautiful coat just like her son’s. The unique markings on the calf’s coat include heart shapes and a butterfly marking over his right shoulder.
“The different size and color markings on giraffes camouflage them on the savanna and distinguish the different subspecies,” Terrell explains in the blog post. “Masai giraffes, seen on Kilimanjaro Safaris, typically have a lacy-edged spot pattern that resembles oak leaves.”
Caring For The Animals You See At Disney’s Theme Park
With just approximately 35,000 Masai giraffes remaining in the wild after a 40% population decline in the past 30 years, the birth of this gorgeous calf is yet another success story to come out of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums’ Species Survival Plan programs, which help ensure the responsible breeding of endangered and threatened species.
Last month’s baby zebra, as well as a giraffe and an endangered white rhino born last fall, are just some of the recent arrivals bred through the program that can now be spotted by guests aboard the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride as they roam with their herds.
In addition to the Kilimanjaro Safaris attraction at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Walt Disney World guests can also spot creatures like giraffes and zebras at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge, a nearby resort where animals can even be seen from guest room balconies.
To learn more about the painstaking efforts that go into caring for animals like the giraffes and white rhinos at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, check out the National Geographic docu-series, “The Magic of Disney’s Animal Kingdom.” The eight-part series, narrated by Josh Gad, streams on Disney+. It takes viewers behind the scenes to tell stories about the care, conservation and Walt Disney Imagineering involved in giving a home to more than 5,000 animals and 300 species at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Theme Park, Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge and The Seas with Nemo & Friends at Epcot.
More Updates Headed To Disney’s Animal Kingdom
Just a day after the announcement of a new arrival at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, Disney shared more news about exciting updates coming to the theme park as part of Walt Disney World’s 50th-anniversary celebration.
A new daytime show, “Disney KiteTails,” will debut on Oct. 1, 2021. The show, which will run several times daily at the Discovery River Amphitheater, will feature performers flying wind catchers and kites depicting Disney animals like Simba, Zazu, Baloo and King Louie. Each night, the park’s towering icon, the Tree of Life, will be transformed into a “Beacon of Magic,” lit up with sparkling projections and lighting effects.
Did you know you could spot so many animals at Walt Disney World? Let us know if you’ve been to Disney’s Animal Kingdom!