Local News

Hand-Raised Baby Giraffe Given Fighting Chance


A hand-raised giraffe is making a full recovery at Monarto Safari Park following months of around the clock care.

Nolean was initially rejected by her mother Thula after her birth in October 2019.

Keeper Haidee Kinter said her 14-year-old mother began to show the same reaction to the new calf as she did to her previous calf, Eyelean.

“We monitored Thula and her calf carefully to make sure that they were bonding and feeding, however, it soon became clear that Thula was ignoring her calf and refusing to let her feed... that’s when we decided to intervene," Ms Kinter said.

“Nolan was incredibly weak and so we maintained a roster with a keeper or member of our veterinary team staying by her side 24/7.

Now there is light at the end of the tunnel with keepers reporting they are seeing signs that the four-month old is feeling better and is taking her milk more regularly.  

“She’s growing and getting taller which are great signs. She’s also enjoying sharing her off-limits space with two other giraffe, Asali and Scarlett, with Asali stepping in as an ‘aunty’ figure and taking good care of Nolean."

As a conservation charity the cost of hand-raising a giraffe is significant, especially when you factor in the milk, supplements, the additional staffing hours required and Nolean’s veterinary care.

Nolean is now drinking 4.5l per feed at two feeds per day, costing Monarto around $150 a week. Additionally, she is also given Impact, a Colostrum supplement plus pre and pro biotics - essential to boost her health after her serious bout of illness.

Nolean’s sister, Eyelean, was also hand-raised after she received a swollen eye and wonky neck after birth. 

After being hand-raised, Eyelean moved to the newly opened Sydney Zoo in December 2019 where she has proved herself to be a great ambassador for the species.

Monarto Safari Park has one of the most successful giraffe breeding programs in Australasia. However, the population of giraffes in Africa has not fared so well. The number of wild giraffe has declined by 36-40% over the last few decades with an estimated 68,293 mature individuals remaining.

A visit to Zoos SA Monarto Safari Park is one way that people can take help to save giraffes like Nolean and her wild cousins in Africa from extinction. Another is to adopt Nolean or, make a donation through the Zoos SA page: https://www.zoossa.com.au/animal-adoption/