Standing tall: Melbourne Zoo welcomes another giraffe
In a big stride forward for zoo-based Giraffe conservation efforts, Melbourne Zoo has welcomed a beautiful, and very tall, new arrival.
Standing at more than three metres, female Giraffe, Iris, arrived at Melbourne Zoo early this morning [Friday 29 April] from Queensland’s Darling Downs Zoo.
The 18-month-old travelled to Melbourne by road in a specially designed Giraffe transport trailer and is settling into her new habitat before being introduced to the Zoo’s two other Giraffes - female Nakuru, and male Klintun [pronounced: Clin-toon].
Melbourne Zoo is part of a regional breeding program for Giraffes, with the overarching objective to raise awareness and support for the conservation of Giraffes in the wild, which are classified as Vulnerable by the International Union
for Conservation of Nature's Red List (IUCN).
Melbourne Zoo Giraffe Keeper, Nathan Bailey, said Iris is settling into her new home nicely.
“Iris has not wasted any time investigating her new environment and becoming familiar with her housemates,” Mr Bailey said.
“We are all really looking forward to getting to know her here at Melbourne Zoo, and building our own relationships with her,” Mr Bailey said. “Her keepers at Darling Downs Zoo have told us she's a really confident, friendly, and curious Giraffe.”
Iris has been brought to Melbourne Zoo with the hope that she will one day breed with three-year-old Klintun when both become sexually mature (around four years old).
Giraffes are highly social animals and keepers hope Iris’ arrival will provide Nakuru with a strong female companion.
“It's really important to house Giraffes together, particularly females, as they are a very social species. Females tend to stick together in close-knit groups more than males. So, it is great for Nakuru to have another female to socialise and interact with,” Mr Bailey said.
“We're really excited for everyone at the Zoo to meet Iris and I'm sure they're going to fall in love with her as we all have.”