Animal Kingdom Safari Welcomes Baby Giraffe

Courtney ReynoldsAnimal Kingdom, Blog

Disney’s Animal Kingdom has another new addition to the Kilimanjaro Safari – a two-month-old baby giraffe named Aella.

On Aug. 28, 2018, Aella, a 2-month-old Masai giraffe calf, walked out onto the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the first time. Accompanied by her mother, Lily, the calf is approximately six feet tall and is viewable by guests aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (David Roark, photographer)

Meet the Baby Giraffe

Aella (pronounced “eye-la”) was born on June 29th. After two months of bonding and nursing with her mom Lily, she made her debut on the savanna on August 28th. Guests can easily spot her on the Kilimanjaro Safari because she is the smallest giraffe among the herd. Aella will continue to nurse for a year and then move on to eating the lush vegetation throughout the savanna. We can’t wait to see baby Aella on our next safari!

Scott Terrell (Director of Animal & Science Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts) describes Aella as “a brave and bold young giraffe with a curious and independent spirit.” Just look at this adorable video!

Video courtesy of Disney Parks Blog.

Meet the Parents

Aella’s parents, Lily and George, were chosen to breed for the Species Survival Plan (SSP), which is overseen by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The SSP is essential to the long-term survival of threatened or endangered species by ensuring responsible breeding. Adding genetic diversity to the giraffe population will help ensure future generations.

On Aug. 28, 2018, Aella, a 2-month-old Masai giraffe calf, walked out onto the savanna at Disney’s Animal Kingdom for the first time. Accompanied by her mother, Lily, the calf is approximately six feet tall and is viewable by guests aboard Kilimanjaro Safaris at Disney’s Animal Kingdom, one of four theme parks at Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (David Roark, photographer)

Disney Conservation Fund

The Masai giraffe is a very vulnerable species and its population is, unfortunately, on the decline due to poaching and habitat loss. Found primarily in Kenya and Tanzania, there are only roughly 32,000 Masai giraffe left in the wild. The Disney Conservation Fund supports conservation efforts in Africa to protect wildlife habitats, including those of giraffes. In fact, earlier this year Disney animal care experts traveled to Uganda to help relocate a vulnerable herd of giraffes at risk of losing their habitat to oil drilling. If you’d like to learn more about giraffes and the threats they face in the wild, visit DisneyAnimals.com.

If you’d like to learn about the Sense of Africa tour at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – where  you might have the opportunity to actually interact with a giraffe! – check out this issue of WDW Magazine.

By Courtney Reynolds

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About the Author

Courtney Reynolds

Courtney is a Photographer for WDW Magazine and former Disney Cast Member. She is originally from New England, but is currently enjoying life in Orlando where you will often find her with a camera in one hand and a coffee in the other. She also loves tacos, Donald Duck, riding roller coasters, and celebrating Halloween. For more about Courtney, you can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.