Melbourne Zoo's Young Giraffe Reaches New Heights
A lot can happen in a year – just look at how big Melbourne Zoo’s young male giraffe Klintun is now!
Two-year-old Klintun arrived at the Zoo early last year as a future breeding companion to his older and much taller
female companion Nakuru. But today, on World Giraffe Day, Klintun weighs almost twice as much as he did then and
is a lot taller too!
Melbourne Zoo Ungulates Keeper Georgie Greig said Klintun is rapidly catching up to Nakuru.
"We have seen him grow substantially since he has been here," Ms Greig said. “He is getting taller and is gaining
weight, which is really awesome for a young giraffe.
"His first weight that we recorded was about 390 kilograms, and this morning he weighed in at just under 610 kilos.
"When Klintun first arrived he was very small, especially in comparison to Nakuru. Standing next to her he just looked
so tiny. We think while he has been here he would have grown at least half a metre, and we are seeing him get taller
"He is definitely looking like he is catching up to Nakuru, but he has still got a fair way to go, and a long way to go
before he reaches his full height.”
As well as growing, Klintun has also rapidly progressed in his participation in the Zoo's healthcare programs, learning
to voluntarily take part in X-rays and weigh-ins.
"Klintun is certainly learning what daily life is like here at Melbourne Zoo," Ms Greig said. "He is learning to recall to
keepers regularly so they can move him into different areas and provide him with enrichment and food. He is
learning about healthcare training so that we can take dental X-rays. And we can also start working towards things
like hoof care - everything that is vital to looking after a giraffe.
"He is definitely curious. He is probably not quite as inquisitive as Nakuru, but we are starting to see him get a little
braver each day and explore a little more each day, which is really great."
Today's World Giraffe Day celebrates the world's longest-necked animal on what is also the longest night of the
year in Australia.
"A lot of people are unaware that giraffe are actually struggling out in the wild," Ms Greig said. "World Giraffe Day is
a really important day on which we can celebrate these beautiful tall creatures."
Giraffe are classified as Vulnerable in the wild by the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red
List. Threats faced by giraffe in the wild include loss of habitat due to expanding human settlement and poaching.