January 19, 2011
Six Flags Wild Safari Welcomes Newborn Giraffe in The New Year
Six Flags Wild Safari’s winter vacation
Jackson N.J. - After several months of anticipation, Six Flags Wild Safari announces the birth of a baby giraffe. The female calf was born to 18 year old mother Georgia on Friday, January 7, 2011. The female calf will soon be introduced into a herd of eight giraffes in the African Plains section.
The gestation period of a giraffe, the tallest, land-living animal species, lasts between 14-15 months, and gives birth standing up. The mother giraffe Georgia gave birth to her six-foot, 100-pound newborn in a private barn in the Wild Safari. The veterinarian staff conducted a 24 hour “baby exam” and both mother and calf are doing well. "Provided that the mother and baby are flourishing, we try to maintain a hands-off approach and allow nature to take its course, as there is nothing better for the baby than mom’s attention and her milk," said Dr. William Rives, a Six Flags Wild Safari exotic animal expert for 20 years.
"We are proud of Georgia, she is a good mother and is doing an excellent job raising her newborn, which is not always the case,” stated Rives, who with the assistance from George Stout, Manager at the Wild Safari, hand-raised Georgia when she was born in 1993. “Sometimes inexperienced mothers become overwhelmed and abandon their calves, so we had to intervene to keep Georgia healthy,” said Rives. “She is now one of our most outgoing giraffes and it’s really exciting to see her as a mother.”
The Wild Safari also welcomed three African lion cubs in December. The one male and two female cubs were born to mother Queen and father King. Visitors can see the new babies and experience Six Flags’ unique 4.5 mile drive-thru Wild Safari on select days beginning April 9 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Wild Safari’s Winter Vacation
Where do the animals go in the winter…they stay right here in Jackson, N.J. While Six Flags Wild Safari is open seasonally April through November to the general public, the 1,200 animals live year-round at the wildlife preserve and settle in to New Jersey’s dynamic four-season environment to remain comfortable in the winter. The Safari staff facilitates this unique transition by stocking the 350-acre wildlife preserve with food and supplies, preparing for the upcoming chilly months.
Many of the residents in the Safari are cold climate descendants and are familiar with the change in climate such as black bear, Siberian Tigers, various hoof stock and others. The Wild Safari also includes a variety of exotic animals that are typically accustomed to a dry climate including giraffes, elephants, zebras, white rhinos, lions and several antelope species. To make these animals feel at home, Six Flags provides access to heated barns during the cold season. These areas are individually regulated according to each species, which are free to roam between grazing paddocks and the heated barns throughout the winter. Also, no matter the weather, the Wild Safari staff must visit each of the more than 35 buildings every day to bring food, water and clean up.
In winter months, food consumption is increased by 50 percent. Wild Safari staff anticipates this dietary change and will stock hay barns, grain silos and supply sheds to ensure animals will have enough feed and proper care for approximately two months at a time. This stock pile allows wardens to keep excellent care and nutritional balance of the animals regardless of delivery delays resulting from inclement weather such as snow fall. This extra food helps sustain core body temperature and aids in the growth of thicker winter coats. Six Flags animal staff will provide up to 80 tons of hay and 50 tons of grain in a typical winter month.
“Growing thicker winter coats and bulking up fatty layers in the fall assists animals with insulation in the colder months,” stated Dr. Rives. “Most of the animals in the Wild Safari were born on property and are descendants of the original 1974 herds. Animals are amazing in their ability to adapt to diverse environments and our Safari residents have acclimated to the changing seasons quite well.”
Six Flags Wild Safari features more than 1,200 animals representing 52 species spanning six continents. Guests can enjoy unlimited visits to Six Flags Great Adventure and Wild Safari with a 2011 Season Pass available online. For a full operating calendar and more information on the Six Flags Wild Safari visit sixflags.com or call 732/928-1821.