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Flying Fanana ... A Quick Way to Orana

Flying Fanana ... A Quick Way to Orana


A nine month old giraffe calf named Fanana is en route to Christchurch. Orana’s future breeding bull was driven from Taronga Western Plains Zoo (Dubbo, Australia) to Sydney. He was then flown to Auckland and is currently being driven to Orana.

Orana’s Zoological Manager, Rob Hall, says: “Flying a giraffe is a very unique way to transfer such a large animal; they normally travel the whole journey by sea. Fanana stands 2.6m tall and his travel crate measures 2.9m, the maximum height to fit in the aircraft!

This transfer is the first time in almost twenty years that a giraffe has been transferred by plane in the Australasian region! Coincidentally, the last giraffe to fly into the region was Harold (Orana’s bull who died last year). Harold was transferred from Chicago Zoo in 1994 so it is very fitting that Fanana is the first giraffe to fly since our last bull.

Any animal transfer is stressful and the fact we could fly him for part of the journey had obvious benefits especially in terms of reduced travel time. This also helped to alleviate animal welfare concerns.”

Fanana landed safely this morning and departed Auckland at 8am. He is currently embarking on a big route trip down the North Island to Wellington where he will board the ferry tonight. He is due to arrive in Christchurch tomorrow morning.

Orana Wildlife Park is involved in the international, zoo-based breeding programme for giraffe. To date 17 calves have been bred at Orana. Since Harold’s death, staff have been working with the species co-ordinator to locate a suitable young breeding bull. Fanana is an appropriate match for Orana’s female giraffes and his arrival takes the Park’s herd to five animals.

“Whilst Harold passed away last year he left one last legacy, a daughter named Harriet who was born in November. She is a lovely young animal and the transfer of Fanana will enrich her life immensely and add a new social dynamic to our giraffe herd.”

Taronga Western Plains Zoo Keeper, Kevin Milton, who is accompanying Fanana on his journey says: “Fanana is a very easy going animal and enjoys eating carrots from the hands of his keepers. We conditioned him to go into the transport crate over the past few weeks and he is really comfortable with it which has helped him stay relaxed on his journey.”

Fanana will undergo a 30-day quarantine period at Orana so will not be on public display for a month. “Park staff and volunteers are excited by the imminent arrival of Fanana. We gratefully acknowledge Park supporters for their donations towards the transfer costs and sincerely thank Zealandia Horticulture Ltd and the Interislander for donating transport costs.

We hope that the flying Fanana will be a hit with our female giraffes. We are sure that, once out of quarantine, visitors will be delighted with the chance to hand feed our lanky lad at our daily giraffe encounter” concludes Rob.

- ENDS -

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