Auckland Zoo's two-year-old giraffe Mdomo has set sail for Timaru this morning, bound for Christchurch's Orana Wildlife Park where on arrival she will be reunited with her older half-sister, Shira.
Mdomo's relocation as part of the Australasian zoos' regional breeding programme for giraffe, comes just three months after Shira joined Orana's female herd.
Auckland Zoo Pridelands team leader, Nat Sullivan, predicts the two giraffes, who were born within just four months of each other and became great mates growing up, will 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," says Nat.
Avoiding peak-hour traffic, Mdomo’s big journey began with a 4am road trip through the streets of suburban Auckland en route to the Ports of Auckland to board the SHAOSHING, a 25,000 tonne Swire Shipping container ship to set sail south.
For the two to three day sea voyage and road trip to her new home, Mdomo will be accompanied by Nat, her fellow Pridelands keeper Sarah Ashton, Zoo vet Dr Sarah Alexander, and Orana Wildlife Park keeper Rosie Pinder. On-board luggage for the 586kg giraffe will include medical supplies, and plenty of food options – from Lucerne and Puka browse to pellets and a variety of fruit and vegetables.