It’s not everyday Mogo Zoo is tasked with moving a 500kg giraffe thousands of kilometres by land and sea, but that was exactly the mission last week.
With the zoo’s precious cargo, Mtundu, expected to grow another two metres, zookeeper Rob Clifford said it was essential to move the bull while he was young.
“We have to move giraffes when they’re young. If we don’t, it becomes a logistical nightmare,” Mr Clifford said.
Mr Clifford said Mtundu’s relocation from Auckland Zoo would form part of Mogo Zoo’s breeding program, with plans to mate him with an 11-month-old female when both animals reach maturity at 4-5 years of age.
“We have a bull here at the moment, but he’s going to be retired from the breeding program. We needed a new blood line and that’s what Mtundu’s job shall be,” he said.
Just days after the 18-month-old giraffe’s highly-publicised arrival, Mr Clifford said the young bull was settling in well.
Mr Clifford oversaw Mtundu’s journey since the initial planning stage late last year.
On February 25, months of anticipation came to and end when the kiwi-born giraffe galloped into his new enclosure.
“He has settled in well with the new environment and new smells,” Mr Clifford said.
“He’s eating and doing everything he should do. It’s a little bit of an eye-opener for him, but he’s coping with it well.”
Mtundu’s arrival caused quite a stir on social media, with onlookers noting their surprise at the animal’s calm temperament throughout the move.
“We’re lucky with giraffes as they’re quite a relaxed animal,” Mr Clifford said.
“Mtundu took it all in his stride and coped with it rather well.”
Mtundu will spend 30 days in a quarantine enclosure before being released into the main pen with the zoo’s six other giraffes.