News | 9 February 2024
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Friday Five: Fun facts about Wellington Zoo’s newest giraffe

Wellington Zoo giraffes Zuri and Sunny welcomed their new-born baby, Nia, to the world late last November. The baby giraffe is growing up quickly before our eyes! Here are five fun facts about Nia and her family.

Baby giraffe and her mum cuddling by a fence.

1. She's one of a kind...

Nia is the first baby giraffe to be born in Wellington in nearly 20 years. Giraffe pregnancies can last anywhere from 457 to 466 days.

2. She could be an All Black!

Now a few months old, baby girl Nia is seven foot tall and 113kg – the weight of a typical All Black! A giraffe heart alone can weigh up to 11kg. That’s about 40 times heavier than an adult human heart. 

Giraffes are the tallest land mammal and can grow up to 6 metres high. That’s about as tall as a double-decker bus. She’s got some growing to do!

Close up of Nia the baby giraffe.
Nia, the newest giraffe at Wellington Zoo.

3. Her favourite snack is...

Giraffes are herbivores and they spend 80% of their time eating. They can eat over 60kg of leaves and twigs in one day! Their long, strong tongues help them strip the leaves from branches. At Wellington Zoo, they also feed giraffes lucerne hay and pellets. Their favourite treats are carrots, lettuce and kale. 

Nia has branched out from her milk-only diet and now enjoys browsing on her favourite food, pōhutukawa leaves.

4. She's got her own nursery

The giraffe house is specifically designed for giraffes. They can choose to be together or take some time away from each other. The bedrooms are heated to keep them warm and there is a quiet room which has heated walls where they can recover from illness or injury.

As Nia is still very young, she spends a lot of time in the nursery. The best time to catch her grazing in the habitat is in the morning. 

Baby giraffe and her mum eating by a fence.

5. Her family are pretty cool

Wellington Zoo’s four giraffes all have their own unique personalities. Zuri, Nia’s mum, is the youngest female giraffe and can be shy but adventurous. She loves to play in water! 

Zahara, who is Zuri’s aunt, loves her photograph being taken! She was born at Wellington Zoo in 2004 and can be identified by her dark coat and the butterfly shaped spot on her neck. 

Nia’s dad Sunny is just four years old himself! He is originally from Australia and has just one eye – vets in Australia tried unsuccessfully to save it after after multiple infections but it doesn’t hold him back! 

Find out more about giraffes on the Wellington Zoo website.