Giraffes are breaking down the language barrier in a successful breeding programme at West Midland Safari Park.
Keepers have been scratching their heads as they learn to communicate with the tall herd as they arrived at the attraction over the past year.
In just twelve months, West Midland Safari Park has added not one, but five new giraffes to their collection as part of a European-wide breeding programme. After an initial quarantine period of 30 days each in a refurbished and heated giraffe house, all five received extra indoor care during the wettest winter on record.
Now that they are acclimatising the only hurdle left for the animals to step over has been learning English so they can understand their keepers. Head Keeper, Noel Carey, today said: “Between them, our new giraffes have travelled thousands of miles to reach Worcestershire. For those animals that have been raised in the UK, getting used to our staff and settling down was relatively easy.
“However, for those giraffe arriving from Europe, it was a different matter. It was evident that as the keepers chatted to them in English, the giraffe appeared to be quite bemused. We can only surmise that the giraffe simply didn’t know what the keepers were talking about. All five new giraffe have mixed well with the existing two male giraffe that have been at the park for the past 12 years.”
The first new giraffe to arrive was Bwindi – a three year old female from the Czech Republic on March 21 last year.
She was swiftly followed by five-year-old female Faida from Chester Zoo on May 10. West Midland Safari Park then welcomed female Arusha, aged three from the Czech Republic on August 23.
Then three-year-old female Akacia arrived on October 23 from Denmark followed by three-year-old Rufus who travelled from a zoo in Yorkshire on December 4 2013.