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Last Updated: Wednesday, 30 January 2008, 14:28 GMT
Small start for premature giraffe
Margaret the giraffe being fed by a keeper
The zoo said she is one of the smallest giraffes they have seen
A baby giraffe was one of the smallest ever seen by zookeepers after she was born two weeks premature.

Margaret, a rare Rothschild breed giraffe, is being bottle-fed by keepers at Chester Zoo after mother Fay went into labour early.

Although Margaret is only 10-days-old, she is now 5ft tall and already weighs 5st (35kg).

There are 600 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild and are more usually seen in the lowlands of Kenya and Uganda.

Tim Rowlands, team leader of the giraffes section, said: "Margaret is one of the smallest giraffe calves we have ever seen.

'Good record'

"Fay isn't the largest of giraffes and Margaret was also early which might go some way to explaining her size.

"Margaret was having difficulty suckling so our keeping team are now hand-rearing her and she is going from strength to strength.

"We have a good track record when it comes to breeding giraffes and we are delighted to welcome another to the fold."

The birth of Margaret - who is named after Mr Rowland's mother - has been welcomed as there are only 600 Rothschild giraffes left in the wild, Chester Zoo said.

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