A young giraffe from Perth Zoo will depart today on a 5834km land and sea adventure to join a herd at Orana Wildlife Park in New Zealand.
Female giraffe, Kamili, will leave with a Senior Zoologist and a Perth Zoo Veterinarian to join a giraffe herd in Christchurch as part of the regional breeding program which aims to provide a safety-net against extinction for this majestic species.
Perth Zoo Curator of Operations, John Lemon, said: “It is an exciting time for our twenty-month-old female giraffe. She is leaving home, but a young bull, Mabuti awaits her arrival in Christchurch.”
“She’ll still be too young to breed, but it’s hoped when she reaches sexual maturity in a few years’ time she will share her important Perth genes,” said John. “Recently watching her mother give birth to a male calf was great experience for Kamili and has set her up well for the future.”
Perth Zoo are experts at giraffe transfers, having moved these animals between Western Australia and zoos around the region regularly.
“These transfers are important to maintain genetic diversity within the regional population of giraffe,” John said. “Since the day of Kamili’s birth we have been preparing for this move to ensure it is achieved as seamlessly as possible.”
“She is actually doing the same journey as her father, Armani, but in reverse. He was born at Orana Wildlife Park and made the move to Perth some years ago.”
The journey, which is expected to take 15 days, has been meticulously orchestrated. The route has been mapped to ensure there are no low bridges or powerlines and the move has been planned to take advantage of temperate weather conditions and seasonal calm waters across the Tasman.
Kamili will travel in a specially designed transport crate which allows her to move around, stand and sit. To prepare her for the move, Zoo keepers have been training her for many months to walk in and out of her transport crate and feel comfortable within her travelling box.
“I designed the transport box myself,” said John. “It is a deluxe model, offering all the creature comforts to ensure our precious cargo is content.”
Upon arrival Kamili will be integrated into the Orana Wildlife Park giraffe herd, comprised of three six-year-old female giraffe and a young male.
“Similar to her home in Perth, Kamili’s neighbours will be the Southern White Rhinoceros, but Siamang Gibbons reside across the road, so there will be some interesting noises for her to get used to,” said John.