By Chun Sung-woo
A giraffe at Everland Zoo, about 36 km southeast of Seoul, gave birth to her 18th calf Sunday, setting the world record for the number of births for the species.
Jang-soon, living in the Lost Valley, an ecological safari area of the zoo, delivered a female baby at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, Everland said. She has given birth to a total of 18 calves, including a pair of twins, since 1990.
Sunday was her 27th birthday, it added.
|Jang-soon and her 18th baby giraffe born on Sunday (Everland)|
Everland said that it has registered Jang-soon’s 18th delivery as an official record with the International Species Information System, which is the Guinness World Record for animals and keeps information on animals living in zoos around the world.
With her 17th calf born last year, Jang-soon was tied in the fecundity record with Lamba, a giraffe that lived at Paris Zoo in France from 1982 to 2005. Her record is likely to stay unbeaten for some time, the zoo said.
Despite her advanced age, Jang-soon’s fecundity has been possible thanks to an animal-friendly zoo environment, professional care of the animals and her longstanding intimacy with her mate Jangdari, Everland said.
The zoo has isolated her habitat in the recently opened herbivore safari to help her get pregnant and deliver a calf.
Jang-soon and Jangdari, both born in 1986, have lived together as a mating couple in the zoo for 24 years.
“Despite her old age, Jang-soon is very healthy all around, including her uterus,” said Kim Jong-gab, a senior animal keeper at Everland, who has spent 26 years with the giraffe. “As an animal keeper, I’ve been happy and lucky to be with a healthy giraffe like Jang-soon for so long.”
Everland plans to hold a contest until Friday to name Jang-soon’s newborn baby.