SYDNEY, June 21 (Xinhua) -- Zookeepers from Western Australia's Perth Zoo, celebrated World Giraffe Day on Friday with the announcement that mother giraffe, Kitoto is pregnant with her second calf, due within the coming months.
Along with father, Armani, Kitoto gave birth to the couple's first baby, Kamili in March of last year, falling pregnant again soon after.
"Wild giraffes had a 40 percent decline in population over the past 150 years," Western Australia Environment Minister Stephen Dawson, who made the announcement said.
"This is why the breeding work Perth Zoo does is so vitally important," Dawson said.
A roughly 15 month gestation period means that keepers and veterinarians at the zoo will be keeping a close eye on the expectant mum throughout the winter.
Kitoto and Armani met for the very first time in 2016 after Kitoto travelled 4,150 km across Australia, from Sydney's Taronga Zoo, as part of the co-operative Australasian breeding program.
Giraffe are under unprecedented pressure in wild with three of the nine giraffe subspecies now considered "critically endangered" or "endangered".
Poaching, habitat loss and other factors make breeding programs such as the one at Perth Zoo crucial for scientists understanding and for the continuation of this unique species.
"Every giraffe born is precious, and the upcoming birth will help protect this species from extinction," Dawson said.
"Including Kamili, born last year, nine giraffes have been born at Perth Zoo since 1995. We look forward to welcoming the 10th calf this winter," Dawson said.