Second giraffe to pass through Timaru's port
An Auckland giraffe is on a boat headed for Timaru to be reunited with her half-sister in Christchurch.
Mdomo, 2, left Auckland's port for Timaru's port on container ship the Shaoshing on Wednesday morning, and Auckland Zoo spokeswoman said.
The 568 kilogram giraffe is scheduled to arrive at PrimePort Timaru at 10pm on Friday.
Mdomo's half-sister, Shira, passed through Timaru in November while the zoo transferred her to Orana Wildlife Park in Christchurch to join the park's female herd as part of Australasian zoos' regional giraffe breeding programme.
Auckland Zoo Pridelands team leader, Nat Sullivan, predicted the two giraffes, who were born four months apart and became friends at the zoo, would be quick to recognise each other.
"It'll be great to see them reunited, and really nice for them both to be able to hang out with each other again," Sullivan said.
Mdomo's journey began with a 4am road trip through suburban Auckland streets to the Ports of Auckland to board the 25,000 tonne Swire Shipping container ship. Sullivan said the giraffe would be in a protected area of the ship, and her human companions would have full access to her at all times "to keep her company and help her feel safe and secure".
"Mdomo is a very confident giraffe, but a sea voyage is still a very strange journey for a large land animal."
The zoo spokeswoman said three keepers and a veterinarian would accompany Mdomo, who would have a variety of foods to eat during her days at sea.
She said both Shira and Mdomo were part-Rothschild's giraffes, the rarest of the nine giraffe sub-species, making them "very valuable" genetically.
She said the Auckland Zoo Conservation Fund supported the research and conservation work of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, whose research had led to both Rothschild's and West African sub-species being formally classified as 'Endangered' on the IUCN Red List
Orana Wildlife Park's Exotic Mammals manager, Rob Clifford, said he and the Orana team looked forward to Mdomo's arrival.
"Mdomo will be integrated with our herd of four females, including her half-sister Shira, who has settled in very nicely. We're delighted at the transfer of these two giraffes to support the managed regional breeding programme for these wonderful animals, and in time, following programme recommendations, we aim to source a suitable breeding male."