This particular subspecies of giraffe has a longevity of around 25 years. A male is considered ‘mature’ at 8 to 10 years of age whereas females mature much faster, maturing at 5 to 7 years of age (Berry et al.,2012). Both of the sexes cannot partake in sexual reproduction until they have reach sexual maturity. Rhodesian giraffe’s have unusual breeding patterns in which the female can get pregnant while lactating (Bercovitch et al., 2010b) and they are not known to have long term bonds between male and females. This means they may find a new partner each time they oestrus while not pregnant (every 2 weeks). Because of the large size of the animal a single calf is born (twins are very rare). Gestation, or the length of time the mother carries the zygote in her womb from conception until birth, is usually 15 months in length. Unfortunately for such a long gestation period the calf mortality rate is extremely high. Though the calf comes out weighing over 100 to 200 pounds, nearly half of the calves born in the wild die in the first year. This may be because of the predators such as lions, hyenas, leopards and wild dogs or that the newborn falls almost six feet at birth. Because they are young and not as aware they become a vulnerable, yet easy target. Young giraffe’s stay with their mother for up to 22 months, usually becoming independent much earlier though (Bercovitch et al., 2010b).


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