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22 May 2013

Nakuru has completed her long journey to Melbourne Zoo from her birthplace at Auckland Zoo.

The first leg of the trip was by ship, and she has just completed a 30-day quarantine period in the purpose-built facility at Werribee Open Range Zoo where she met all the conditions set by DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries & Forestry) .

The two-year-old arrived at Melbourne Zoo yesterday morning, and she seemed to be undisturbed by her scenic trip from Werribee over the Westgate and Bolte bridges.

Nakuru stepped out of her travelling crate to meet the two giraffe already at Melbourne Zoo, the older female Twiga and male Makulu, selected as her future mate as part of the regional breeding program.

Makulu was born at Perth Zoo, and Twiga came from Rotterdam Zoo. They have produced four calves, which now live at other Australian zoos: Mogo Zoo in NSW, Monarto Zoo in SA, and Orana Park, New Zealand.

Zoos Victoria’s Senior Veterinarian Dr. Helen McCracken explains that it was important for Nakuru to undergo the quarantine period before meeting Twiga and Makulu, because it is vital to ensure that an individual entering a group is not carrying any infectious disease which might spread to the other animals.

Dr. McCracken explains that ‘We have kept Nakuru under close observation during her time at Werribee Open Range Zoo’s quarantine area, and we are confident that she is well and can be safely introduced to the two giraffe at Melbourne Zoo.

‘Although it is possible for giraffe to contract Bovine TB or Bovine Brucellosis, because we know that the giraffe herd at Auckland Zoo is healthy, we were not anticipating any problem with those diseases.

‘We have tested Nakuru for internal and external parasites during her time at Werribee, and again we have found her to be in excellent health.’ 

Nakuru will be ready to breed in another 3 to 4 years. A giraffe gestation takes 13 to 16 months, so Nakuru is unlikely to become a mother until at least 4 years old.

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