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Giraffes precious cargo at Auckland port


19 November 2008

MEDIA RELEASE

For immediate release

Giraffes precious cargo at Auckland port

Two young giraffes born at Auckland Zoo will be loaded onto a ship bound for Australia at the Port of Auckland tomorrow.

The giraffes, Ntombi and Forrest, are headed for a breeding programme in Australia.

They will be loaded onto theANL Yarrungaat the Bledisloe Container Terminal on Thursday night (20 November), before being transported to the Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, central New South Wales, for a quarantine period.

Ntombi, 16 months, will stay at Taronga, while her year-old half-brother Forrest will go on to Australia Zoo.

Moving giraffes between zoos is no easy task but the giraffes will be made as comfortable as possible on their voyage across the Tasman from the Ports of Auckland.

“We have loaded horses before, but giraffes aren’t something we see at the Port every day,” says Ports of Auckland spokesperson Catherine Etheredge.

“We have all the security and necessary equipment in place, and have been liaising closely with Auckland Zoo to ensure that Forrest’s and Ntombi’s trip goes as smoothly as possible.”

The precious cargo will be transported in separate 4.2metre high crates, designed to allow the giraffes to maintain important and reassuring eye contact with each other and their surroundings.

The voyage is expected to take seven days with stopovers. The giraffes are travelling with a supply of food that includes 100kg of hay, 25kg of food pellets and 60kg of vegetables. They will be accompanied by acting curator Michael Batty, who knows the giraffes well, and Auckland Zoo vet Dr John Potter.

Ntombi is the first female giraffe born at Auckland Zoo in 15 years and will provide valuable genetic stock for future breeding.

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