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Giraffe on the move

The transport of a Giraffe from Auckland Zoo to Wellington Zoo today will draw a few double-takes as the tall cargo winds its way down the country.

Zuri the Giraffe is moving to Wellington Zoo. Photo credit: Auckland Zoo

Zuri, a one-year old female Giraffe, will join Wellington Zoo’s two female Giraffes in the African Savannah.

“Giraffes are very social animals, and she will be joining our mother and daughter Giraffes here in Wellington, Tisa and Zahara,” says Animal Science Manager Simon Eyre. “Tisa is actually Zuri’s grandmother, and Zahara is her aunt.”

Giraffes are difficult to transport, and the Animal Care teams at both zoos have had to consider all kinds of logistics for the move, including the safest route through Wellington to accommodate the specially-designed tall crate.

“Zuri needs to be moved before she is fully grown, otherwise she would simply be too big to transport,” says Simon. “People often ask how animals come to live at Wellington Zoo and animal moves and transfers between good zoos are carefully managed and planned, ensuring the animals will be well cared for at their new zoo, and that they’re coming from a good zoo in the first place.”

Zuri’s journey is the second Giraffe transfer in a matter of months for Auckland Zoo’s Pridelands team leader Nat Sullivan, and although this is not her first Giraffe road trip, it will be the longest Giraffe road trip.

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“We’ve driven a Giraffe to Hamilton before, but never as far as Wellington, so it will be a novel sight for many. It is a long trip, but we will be monitoring her closely the whole way and look forward to getting her safely to her new home. We’ve done quite a few giraffe transfers now, so we’re getting pretty good at it,” says Nat.

“Of course Zuri’s welfare is the upmost priority, so to help make sure everything goes smoothly I have Pridelands keeper Henry Davey-Wraight and zoo vet Melanie Leech travelling with me and we will make sure Zuri is fed and comfortable for the journey.”

Zuri is due to arrive in Wellington late on Monday night, and will be moved to the African Savannah at Wellington Zoo on Tuesday morning.

For updates on Zuri’s journey, follow @AucklandZoo and @WellingtonZoo on Twitter and Facebook.

Giraffe Fast Facts

• Giraffe Zuri, born on 23 April 2015, is the offspring of male Zabulu and female Rukiya. She is the granddaughter of Wellington Zoo’s female Giraffe Tisa.
• There is just one species of Giraffe, the world’s tallest land animal, but 9 sub-species. Since 1998, habitat loss and poaching has resulted in Giraffe populations plummeting from 140,000 individuals to just 80,000 individuals today.
• Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund supports the research and conservation work of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) whose research has led to two Giraffe sub-species (Rothschild’s and West African) being formally classified as ‘Endangered’ on the IUCN Red List.
• Wellington Zoo is an active supporter of TRAFFIC, an organisation that aims to reduce illegal and unsustainable wildlife trade. Five percent of the cost for animal transfers is donated directly to TRAFFIC to protect wildlife from illegal trading.


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