add angle-downbadge calendarcard check-circle-ocheck clockemail envelope-oexclamation-circleexternal-link-squareexternal-linkfacebook-squarefacebook fighting-extinction flag-checkeredgift green-check info-circleinstagram-squareinstagram linkedin lock logo-healesville-inverse Healesville Sanctuary logoCreated with Sketch. logo-melbourne-inverse Melbourne Zoo logoCreated with Sketch. logo-werribee-inverse Werribee Zoo logo CopyCreated with Sketch. logo-zv-icons logo-zv-inverse logo-zv mime-pdf minus-boulderminus-circlepencilphone pinterest plus-boulderplus-circleremove tick timestwitter-squaretwitter vic-gov youtube
Werribee Open Range Zoo

Savannah birthday party at Werribee Zoo

30 May 2019

What’s better than celebrating a birthday on Werribee Open Range Zoo’s savannah? Celebrating two birthdays, of course!

Nine-year-old male Giraffe Ajali and six-year-old female Southern White Rhinoceros Kipenzi received some animal-friendly enrichment today during a unique party to celebrate their birthdays. 

As Ajali tucked into a ‘cake’ of fruit, vegetables and browse, Kipenzi was treated to a colourful birthday box filled with pellets and lucerne hay.

These enrichment items were created by a dedicated team of volunteers and approved by keepers. Puzzles, interactive feeders and novel food items such as these are designed to stimulate and entertain the animals as part of their ongoing welfare.

Ajali and Kipenzi share their 32 hectare home with other Rhinos and Giraffe, as well as Zebras and various antelope species, many of whom watched the festivities with interest. 

For Savannah Keeper Resistance Manyepera, the combined birthday party for these very different species was a great way to celebrate the diversity of life on the savannah at Werribee Zoo.

 “Seeing all these African animals together reminds me of being back home in Zimbabwe,” Mr Manyepera said. “Kipenzi has grown up to be a really smart and curious Rhino, while Ajali is still one of the youngest Giraffe who naturally follows the others.”

Ajali and Kipenzi act as ambassadors for their cousins in the wild. Both Giraffe and Rhinos face a range of threats including habitat destruction, poaching and agricultural advancement.

The Giraffe population has seen a dramatic decline over the past few decades, and there are now less than 70,000 mature individuals in the wild.

Rhinos face an equally uncertain fate – up to three are killed every day in Africa.

You can see Rhinos and Giraffes, and help support their conservation, while on the Safari Bus travelling through Werribee Zoo’s savannah, which is free with a general admission ticket.