Thanks to the skills of our ungulate keepers and a new transport trailer that cleverly caters to the world’s tallest land animal - young male giraffe Jabali has had a smooth journey and arrival to his new home at Hamilton Zoo today!

Close to two-years old, Jabali - the offspring of female Kiraka and male Billy (whose genetics are now well represented in the Australasian region) is joining other male giraffe as part of a bachelor herd at Hamilton. Here he’ll continue to play a vital advocacy role for his species. 

“Jabali is naturally a very inquisitive, calm, and trusting giraffe, and over the past few months he’s been an absolute joy for us to work with in preparation for his two-and-half-hour road  trip to Hamilton,” says lead senior ungulates keeper, Ben Cosgrove.

“So much thought and work has gone into our new trailer to ensure its usability, safety, and comfort. It’s a bespoke design with an extendable canopy (roof) so it can cater for giraffe up to five metres in height, and can also be used for zebra, waterbuck, nyala and other ungulate species, and take a total weight of 1850kg. 

“At 576kg, Jabali still has lots more growing to do, so comes in as a relative lightweight for the trailer’s capacity, and at 3.93m tall, he’s also well within the maximum height of its adjustable roof. To get down to Hamilton without a hitch, we double checked the route and the weather to ensure it was safe to travel and worked with a specialist haulage company for added safety and advice. It was great to be able to travel freely on the motorway,” explains Ben.

Placing the trailer inside the giraffe house where he could see it overnight and feeding him inside the trailer every morning during his training sessions, all contributed to helping Jabali get comfortable and at ease with his transport and take it in his stride on move day.

“While we’re really going to miss Jabali, we’re confident he’ll settle in well at Hamilton, and being just a couple of hours drive away, we can always go and visit him,” says Ben.

Auckland Zoo’s giraffe herd still stands tall – with male Billy (5), matriarch Rukiya (22), female Kiraka (14), female Kabili (7) and Kiraka and Billy’s youngest offspring, female Enzi – born in early January, and growing fast! Be sure to stop by and experience these extraordinary animals in our Africa Safari Track when you next visit.

You can learn more here about giraffe and the role Auckland Zoo (with your help!) is playing, supporting the mahi of our amazing conservation partners – the Namibia-based Giraffe Conservation Foundation.