The Greater Vancouver Zoo has a new giraffe to be a companion to Jafari, its lone male, which lost both his four-year-old son and the mother of his child within a one week span last November.
The new, 1,700-pound (770 kg) animal travelled more than 4,000 kilometres from the African Lion Safari in Cambridge, Ont. to be with the zoo’s male giraffe, Jafari, after Jafari’s mate passed away in November.
So, how do you transport a 13-foot (four metre) tall animal?
The giraffe came to Aldergrove in a specialized animal transport trailer, said Greater Vancouver Zoo manager Jody Henderson.
Staff will name the five-year-old male soon but in the meantime the Rothschild giraffe is integrating well with his new friend, said Henderson.
The new male is used to being around other male giraffes, as he was in a bachelor herd at the African Lion Safari.
Giraffes are herd animals in their native African savannah.
The zoo has been looking for a companion for 12-year-old Jafari since last November.
Amryn was born on Oct. 18, 2009 at the zoo.
His mother Eleah and father Jafari were doing well as a family. But then Amryn was found dead outside his pen in November, 2011.
One week later his 23-year-old mother, Eleah, died. Henderson said the necropsies done on both giraffes were inconclusive as to what killed them.
Jafari has welcomed his new friend with lots of neck hugs, nose sniffing, a few horn butts and plenty of giraffe vocalization through the barrier fence that separates them while they are getting used to each other, said Henderson.
The sections to which the new giraffe has access will be changed accordingly until it is shown that he is acting comfortable within each area, and is at ease with Jafari.
Giraffes are one of the world’s tallest land mammals.
They are known for their long necks, long legs and spotted patterns (each of them very unique markings). Males may grow to be 5.5 m (18 ft) and weigh 800 to 1930 kg (1,764 – 4,255 lbs). Giraffes have seven vertebrae in their neck just like humans but their neck can weigh up to 272.16 kg (600 lbs).
They also have an extremely long tongue 45.72 cm (18-20 in).
In addition, they have an exceptionally large heart and it must work against gravity to pump blood up to the head when it is erect.
The heart is approximately 61 cm (24 in.) long, weighs 11 kg (25 lbs), and can pump 60 to 75 litres (16-20 gallons) of blood per minute.