Melbourne Zoo welcomes new giraffe Klintun

14 February 2020

HE is tall, dark and well beyond handsome – Melbourne Zoo’s newest arrival may be one of the most unusually beautiful giraffes ever seen in Australia.

Fourteen-month-old Klintun was welcomed to the Zoo yesterday afternoon and his uniquely stylish markings have already won him adoring fans.

One of them is Justin Valentine, the Zoo’s Life Sciences Manager – Carnivores and Ungulates.

“He does look really beautiful,” Mr Valentine said. “He has particularly dark patches which is unusual and makes him pretty special. He’s a very good-looking little giraffe.”

Klintun was born at Altina Wildlife Park in Darlington Point, southern New South Wales, in November 2018. He made the journey to Melbourne by road yesterday in a specially built float trailer. The journey took place earlier than had been planned in order to avoid potential severe weather.

Discussions had been underway about bringing in a young male to Melbourne Zoo’s herd since 2018, the year the Zoo’s last male giraffe, Mukulu, died aged 23.

While Klintun’s arrival in Melbourne has been planned ever since his birth, it will now be especially welcomed by eight-year-old female giraffe Nakuru. Giraffes are social animals and Nakuru has been without any companions of her own species since the sad death of her long-time friend Twiga at the ripe of age of 23 on Wednesday.

Vets reluctantly made the heart-breaking decision to euthanase the great-great grandmother on compassionate grounds because of age-related problems that were causing her to suffer.

Today, three-metre-tall Klintun and five-metre-tall Nakuru will be getting to know each other in the Zoo’s giraffe and zebra enclosure, separated by a fence for a day or two while keepers monitor how they are getting along.

“But they’ll be able to see each other, and touch each other’s faces,” said Mr Valentine.

Zoos Victoria members and visitors are currently able to admire Klintun from a distance, but they will be able to see him more closely once he and Nakuru are sharing the same space.

Gloria Altin, managing director of Altina Wildlife Park where Klintun was born and raised, said: “He’s the most beautiful giraffe we’ve ever known. He’s also got the best temperament. He’s awesome. He’s a gem of an animal - everyone will love him.”