A giraffe from Perth Zoo will depart today for a 2200km journey across the Nullarbor Plain to join a herd at Monarto Zoo in South Australia.

Eight-year -old female giraffe Asali will leave Perth with a Perth Zoo keeper and veterinarian for the journey of a lifetime to join a female herd in the open range zoo south east of Adelaide.

Environment Minister Albert Jacob said Perth Zoo staff were experts at giraffe transfers having moved these animals between Perth and zoos on the eastern states numerous times.

“These transfers are important to maintain genetic diversity within the regional population of giraffes,” Mr Jacob said. “With Asali’s departure, Perth Zoo will have room for another female to boost its breeding program.”

“The planning that has gone into this is meticulous. Any animal transport required detailed planning but when you are dealing with a 4.4 metre animal it is a bit more challenging.”

Several months ago Perth Zoo built a specially designed giraffe transport crate and planned the route to avoid any low bridges or trees. The Zoo has been working with Western Power to raise any powerlines which might be a problem for the extra tall cargo.”

To prepare Asali for the move, zoo keepers have been training her for the past six months to walk in and out of her transport crate and feel comfortable within her travelling box.

“Asali shouldn’t be unfamiliar with this journey, she was born at Monarto Zoo so it will be interesting when we get close to the end of the trip if she realises she is heading home,” Mr Jacob said.

“Asali’s departure will give us space in the Perth Zoo herd to bring in an unrelated female from Queensland to introduce to our male Armani. We hope to have another female in the group within the next 12 months to keep up the breeding program.”