Posted on 21st June 2021 by Media Relations
Though they captivate us everyday with their gentle nature and amazing appearance, I feel very honoured and appreciative to be able to work with the amazing Giraffe breeding herd on this World Giraffe Day. When it comes to celebrating giraffe there are none at the zoo more deserving than ‘queen’ Mutangi.
Mutangi was the first calf born in our breeding program here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo back on the 13 November 1990, meaning she will be turning 31 this year, making her the oldest Giraffe in a zoo in the world. The average lifespan of a Giraffe in zoo-based environment is 20-25 years, but nobody must have told Mutangi that because apart from some stiff joints, she walks around without a care in the world. Always poking her head over the fence to see what us keepers are up to.
Mutangi is currently being housed next door the main herd of giraffe but has time with the herd every now and then. This allows her to have access to her own bedding and food rather than having to compete with the rest of the herd. This also allows us to monitor her more closely and provide the special care that is necessary for an animal her age such as assisting with her grooming.
Now Mutangi is a great-great grandmother, she has reared 14 calves in her time at Dubbo, who have gone onto other zoos or stayed in our breeding program like Mvita and Tuli, who have now had calves of their own. Because of Mutangi there have been 61 new giraffes born that all can be traced back to her.
We are all so thankful to have Mutangi here at the zoo and still in good health. She is an amazing ambassador for her wild counterparts and allowing us to start a conversation about giraffe conservation and their plight in the wild. As her legacy continues to grow so to does the place in our hearts for this amazing animal.
By Giraffe Keeper, Leigh Drayton