Happy 20th Birthday Rukiya! Born in 2001, our eldest giraffe turns 20 years old today and you can see in these ‘before and after’ photos just how much she has grown. Rukiya was born at Wellington Zoo and relocated to Auckland just one week shy of her first birthday. 

During her years with us she gave birth to five surviving offspring with male Zabulu (who passed away in 2017). As part of the regional zoo breeding programme for this threatened species, her son Forest moved to Australia Zoo in 2009 and was able to sire an amazing 14 offspring. Incredibly, Rukiya and Zabulu’s son Forest was listed in the Guiness Book of Records as the world’s tallest giraffe in 2020 – standing at 5.7 metres tall!

Rukiya is much-loved by our wonderful visitors and ungulates team, who say of her “with her captivating presence and a very curious nature, Rukiya is always observant to any changes in her environment, making her our most inquisitive giraffe. Since the arrival of Billy (her grandson) from Australia Zoo in 2020, Rukiya has shown a very warm and nurturing behaviour towards him. Their bond is lovely to see, and they are not often far from one another."

Giraffes are endangered in the wild, and it is now estimated that fewer than 100,000 giraffe are left in Africa today. We’re proud to be partnered with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the only NGO in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffe in the wild throughout Africa, and you help to support this work when you visit our zoo.


Happy World Giraffe Day from Auckland Zoo!

In this Keeper Chat, ungulates keepers Dan and Luke discuss how we care for giraffe at the Zoo and in the wild.