Giraffes from India on show at Singapore Zoo

Two young endangered giraffes (right) from India have arrived at the Singapore Zoo and the public were allowed to view them from Thursday at the park's Wild Africa zone.

The two Rothschild's giraffes, which are from the Mysuru Zoo, belong to one of the most endangered subspecies of giraffes. Fewer than 2,000 of the Rothschild's subspecies are left in the wild.

Their journey to Singapore involved a 22-hour interstate road trip and a seven-day sea voyage, zoo operator Wildlife Reserves Singapore (WRS) said on Thursday.

Named Balaji and Adhil, the two healthy male giraffes, who are both about one year old, arrived at Jurong Port in May.

Transporting the giraffes to Singapore was a challenge for WRS, as there was a lack of suitable air freight due to the pandemic.

"As there was a limited window period to ship the fast-growing youngsters before they outgrew all forms of transport, the team explored the option of surface transport," WRS said.

The team custom-designed crates with adjustable tops to carry the animals. These crates allowed the animals to stretch to their full heights for most of their journey and could be adjusted to "duck" when clearing road infrastructure, WRS said.

A simulation was held with mock-up crates to map out the best possible route for the final leg of the giraffes' journey from Jurong port to Mandai.

Two WRS animal caretakers accompanied the giraffes throughout their journey, arriving in India a month ahead of their departure to familiarise the giraffes with their new carers. The animals also took part in "crate training" to get them used to their temporary homes.

"Throughout the journey, WRS keepers, equipped with a full supply of feed, supplements and emergency medications, provided meticulous care of the giraffes and ensured they were comfortable and calm throughout the journey," WRS said.

The two giraffes have been adopted by Kuok Singapore, which runs the PACC Line shipping line that brought the animals from India to Singapore. They were named by the Mysuru Zoo.

Balaji means strength in Hindi and is also the name of an Indian prince. Adhil is a star in the constellation Andromeda and also the name of one of PACC Line's fleets.

Curator of herbivores at WRS, Mr Parmasivam Ramasamy, said: "We are very excited to welcome these gentle giants to Singapore Zoo and have since introduced them to our resident father-and-son duo, Marco and Jubilee.

"The current giraffe exhibit has ample space for the four and we have added water troughs and salt lick blocks in preparation for their debut."

WRS said: "Serving a three-month quarantine under the watchful eyes of the animal care and veterinary teams since their arrival, both giraffes have since settled well into their new habitat, feasting on a daily diet of hay, herbivore pellets and leaves of starfruit, jackfruit and acacia trees."

The Mysuru Zoo has had an animal exchange partnership with WRS since 2010.

Animals that have been brought to Singapore include sloth bears and lion-tailed macaques.

The giraffes are staying in Singapore for good.

The Straits Times


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