Taronga’s six-year-old Giraffe, Kitoto, will embark on an epic journey across Australia on Monday, moving to a new home at Perth Zoo to play an important role in the Australasian breeding program for her species.
Over the past few months, Taronga’s youngest Giraffe has been busy preparing for her big move across the Nullarbor. Ungulate Supervisor, Natalie Dunn said all hands have been on deck in training Kitoto to ensure it’s a safe and comfortable journey.
“Before the transport crate had even arrived we had trained Kitoto to step up onto a platform, as this was something she would need to be able to do to step up into the specially-built crate,” Natalie said. “As Giraffe are naturally more familiar with open areas, this exercise has required a lot of trust between Kitoto and her keepers.”
Like all of Taronga’s four Giraffe, Kitoto has a positive history of training, allowing keepers to gradually and successfully build upon her existing training.
“We have aimed to make Kitoto’s crate a very positive place for her, with feedings of pellets taking place in there every day, which has made Kitoto very confident walking into the crate,” said Natalie. “Kitoto is now at a stage in her training where she is comfortable being inside the crate with the door closed, as she will be on the day.”
Kitoto won’t be travelling alone! She will be accompanied by a veterinarian and senior keeper from Taronga and a Perth Zoo keeper on the first leg of the trip from Sydney to Port Augusta. A Perth Zoo keeper and vet will then take over for the second leg of the journey.
Upon arrival at Perth Zoo, Kitoto will be introduced to a 14-year-old male Giraffe named Armani. A proven breeding bull, Armani has already sired three calves and keepers are hoping to hear the pitter-patter of giraffe calf hooves again in the near future.