Witnessing the birth of a giraffe in the wild is a rare occurrence. Photographer Tony Crocetta was fortunate to be at hand when this female giraffe gave birth in the Masai Mara Reserve in Kenya. Following a tense labour the baby finally emerged, dropping around 5 ft to the ground. The mother immediately turned to nuzzle her newborn, encouraging him to stand up on his long wobbly legs, and within a few hours he was running around with the rest of the young in the herd.
At around 6ft (1.8m), giraffes are the tallest babies on earth, and will reach a massive 16 to 20ft (5 to 6m) when fully grown. Though an adult giraffe can deliver a hefty kick capable of killing a lion, young calves are very vulnerable to predators, and fewer than half of all calves that are born will reach adulthood.
The most serious threat to giraffes are humans. Illegal hunting and habitat loss have caused giraffe extinction in a number of African countries, but conservation efforts ensure that they thrive in protected areas.