Father’s Day is no tall order for dad Bashu and son Wilfred at Whipsnade Zoo
Images taken by zookeepers at Whipsnade Zoo reveal a tender moment between reticulated giraffe Bashu and son Wilfred ahead of their first Father’s Day together.
The father and son duo were spotted together enjoying an afternoon snack of leafy greens in the summer heatwave, with Bashu patiently waiting for Wilfred to have the first strip, before devouring some of the nutritious leaves and bark for himself.
Wilf, as the youngster is affectionately known at the conservation zoo, was born last November to ten-year-old Bashu and eight-year-old mum Luna as part of a collaborative international conservation breeding programme for the endangered species - and despite being just seven-months-old, is already towering above keepers, at 8ft 8inches tall.
“He’s still got a way to go till he reaches his dad’s height of 16ft, but Wilf is growing and learning every day,” said giraffe keeper Mark Holden.
“As a youngster, he’s still curious about everything and is surprisingly independent - he loves zooming around in the summer sun as Bashu looks on. When Wilf has tired himself out, you’ll often see him lounging in the shade or stopping for a quick drink at the watering hole with mum Luna and grandma Ijuma.”
Mark added: “It’s vital that conservation zoos across the world collaboratively care for a healthy, strong and genetically diverse population of reticulated giraffes, which are classified as Endangered on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Sadly, in the wild, reticulated giraffe populations continue to decline in their native Africa due to habitat loss, illegal hunting and conflict in unstable areas.”
ZSL, the international conservation charity behind Whipsnade Zoo, is working in the continent to help save animals on the brink of extinction - by collaborating with communities on the ground to protect threatened species and restore the ecosystems they support.
Visitors at Whipsnade Zoo can see Wilf and the rest of the reticulated giraffe herd this Father’s Day – every ticket to the conservation zoo supports ZSL’s vital science and conservation work across the globe.