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Giraffe to set sail on his OE

Media release 5 September 2011

Giraffe to set sail on his OE

Aucklanders might be able to catch a glimpse of a giraffe as he makes his way through suburban streets en route to the Ports of Auckland today.

Auckland Zoo is part of an Australasian regional breeding programme, and 18-month-old Jelani is crossing the Tasman to live in a giraffe bachelor herd alongside rhinos, zebras and antelope at Werribee Open Range Zoo in Melbourne.

"It will be sad to see Jelani go, but Jelani's dad Zabulu is the Zoo's breeding male. If we had more than one male, we wouldn't have the space to enable us to continue breeding here.

"Zoos like Werribee Open Range Zoo hold bachelor groups of animals for this purpose," says Pridelands team leader Nat Sullivan.

Moving giraffes between zoos requires considerable preparation both prior to boarding, and during the voyage. Jelani has been vaccinated and micro-chipped with identification information, and been 'crate trained' to enter his 4.2m high crate and be as comfortable as possible.

Onboard 'giraffe luggage' for Jelani's trip also includes food, enrichment devices like boomer balls, and medical supplies.

"I'm hoping that the weather will be fairly settled on the trip over. But I will be onboard and checking on him regularly, which will hopefully help him feel secure," says Nat.

Nat Sullivan and Dr Craig Pritchard, veterinary manager of the New Zealand Centre for Conservation Medicine, will accompany Jelani onboard.

Maersk Line New Zealand Ports Manager Sunil Thakur says the unusual cargo presented some unusual challenges.

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"Any cargo that is not the standard size and shape requires a bit of extra planning to ensure we make the best possible use of the space available.

"To minimise disruption for Jelani we will load him last, so we've had to organise the rest of the loading around that. We also need to keep him safe and well-protected, and make it easy for Nat and Craig to get to him during the voyage.

"It's rare for us to transport live animals, but we're delighted to have the opportunity to support the regional breeding programme," says Mr Thakur.

Early next month, a female giraffe from Taronga Western Plains Zoo will be making the return voyage across the Tasman to join the two giraffes at Auckland Zoo.

Departure information

* Jelani will travel on a truck and will depart Auckland Zoo at 2pm on Monday, 5 September * His expected arrival at the port is 3pm * the Zoo expects Jelani to put his head out of the crate as he travels along and this is most likely when he is stopped at traffic lights.


* Jelani is approximately 3.5m tall and weighs approximately 500kg * the crate weighs 2.5 tonnes, is 4.2m high, 2.8m deep and 2.8m wide - this gives Jelani enough room to sit down if he wants to
* The ship, JPO Scorpius, has a deadweight of 34,600 tonnes.


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