Posted on 21st June 2018 by Media Relations
It’s World Giraffe Day and Taronga Western Plains Zoo is celebrating the world’s tallest land animal! World Giraffe Day aims to promote awareness of the plight these animals face in the wild.
“Giraffe are iconic animals but many people aren’t aware that wild giraffe populations are decreasing and have plummeted by 40% over the last 30 years,” said Giraffe Keeper, Nick Bourke.
“Giraffe are under threat due to illegal bush meat trade, habitat destruction, trophy hunting and poaching.”
Taronga Western Plains Zoo has partnered with Biliqo-Bulesa Conservancy, a branch of the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), to sell beadwork made by over 600 women in Northern Kenya. This initiative allows communities to have an alternate income to livestock which competes with wildlife such as giraffe for resources such as water and vegetation. Put simply, more beads sold = less livestock = more wildlife.
“Visitors to the Zoo can purchase the colourful beadwork from the Zoo shop with proceeds going toward improving wildlife security and rangeland health in Kenya; the giraffe’s natural habitat,” said Nick.
“Whilst it feels like World Giraffe Day every day at the Zoo for the giraffe keepers, today is an opportunity to educate people a little more about this species and their plight in the wild. But because it is such a special day, we’ll be sure to give our giraffe an extra carrot or two, which they really enjoy”, said Nick.
Taronga Western Plains Zoo currently have 16 giraffe spanning over four generations, which act as ambassadors for their wild counterparts. Dubbo’s longest residing giraffe, Mutangi, was born at the zoo and is enjoying her 26th year.
The newest members of the giraffe herd are males Zuberi and Kibo and a female named Malaika. The trio were born in August and September 2017 and are full of energy and are regularly observed interacting together.
The Giraffe is the tallest of all land mammals, growing up to 6 metres tall and weighing between 700 and 1900kg. Their lifespan in the wild is 15 to 20 years, but giraffe can live up to 28 years in zoo-based environments.