Rare twin giraffes born in Central Texas


by QUITA CULPEPPER / KVUE News and Associated Press


Posted on May 28, 2013 at 3:39 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 10:33 AM

NEW BRAUNFELS, Texas -- Officials with a Central Texas wildlife refuge say twin giraffes have been born, marking just the second time such a birth has occurred in the United States.

Female calf Wasswa was born first May 10 followed by brother Nakato. Officials with the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch waited until Tuesday to announce the births to ensure the calves were certain to survive. Their African names mean "first born" and "second born."

Wasswa and Nakato are reticulated giraffes, one of the most common species. Nakato is the larger of the two at 125 pounds and more than 5 feet tall.

For now, Nakato is being housed in a separate pen from his sister and mother.
"She showed aggression to him. She kicked at him, and so we separated them," said caretaker Tiffany Soechting. "In her mind she sees the male as kind of a threat to the female that she's nursing right now, that he will take the nutrients that is for her."

Caretakers were also worried mother Carole wouldn't produce enough milk for both calves, so Nakato will be hand-fed for the next eight months. 

Carole continues to create a bond with her second-born.

"With him being right next to them in the closure next to them, she leans over frequently and licks and tends to him and gives him attention," Soechting said.

Ranch spokeswoman Melissa Welch says the pair are the only set of twins in the U.S. She says about 60 percent of twin giraffes are stillborn while in other cases they must be aborted.

They'll stay at the privately owned ranch outside New Braunfels for public viewing.

Go here to see the photos.