A portrait of a female giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) with her calf taken in the Kariega Game Reserve located in the Eastern Cape in South Africa.

Mothers with calves will gather in nursery herds, usually consisting of two or more infants and/or juveniles and their mothers moving or browsing together. Mothers in such a group may sometimes leave their calves with one female while they travel to other areas. This is known as a "calving pool". Calves appear to have strong social bonds, facilitating social cohesion in nursery groups. Males play almost no role in raising the young. The young are vulnerable to predators. A mother giraffe will stand over her young and kick at a predator that comes near. Giraffes only defend their own young; they form calving herds for selfish reasons. A mother has a strong maternal bond with her calf, lasting until her next calving. Calves suckle for 13 months and continue to associate with their mothers for another 2–5 months.

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