Dr. Charlotte Macdonald, Director of Life Sciences says, “We are absolutely delighted to welcome giraffes back to Twycross Zoo. It is very important that captive bred animals maintain healthy genetics, and our three new males were all in need of a new habitat as part of European breeding programme recommendations because you cannot keep multiple males with females.” The giraffes are now residing in Twycross Zoo’s Giraffe Savannah, a purpose-built facility with a large house and communal stable area and outdoor paddocks that open on to a savannah grassland which runs parallel with Elephant Creek. Giraffe Savannah is the first brand new animal enclosure to be built as part of the zoo’s 20 year masterplan vision which was announced in March 2015.
There are nine sub-species of giraffe, of which, Twycross Zoo now has two types. Epesi is a reticulated giraffe, currently six years old who transferred to Twycross Zoo from Colchester Zoo. Reticulated giraffes are native to Somalia and parts of Ethiopia and Kenya. Visitors will be able to tell Epesi apart from the other two males by his distinctive coat which has liver spots outlined by clearly defined white lines.
Setanta and Brad, are both Baringo giraffes, a name derived from Lake Baringo in Kenya, but they are often more commonly known as Rothschild giraffes. This sub-species of giraffe is native to Kenya and Uganda. The coat of a Baringo giraffe is a different shade from reticulated giraffes, and the markings stop at their knees to give the appearance of wearing long white stockings. They are also the only sub species of giraffe to have five ossicones – the term given to the horn-like structures on their heads. Setanta is currently 4 years old and travelled to Twycross Zoo from Fota Wildlife Park in Ireland, while Brad, the smallest of the three, is two years old and came from Flamingo Land in Yorkshire.
Dr Macdonald continues, “The giraffes have been incredibly calm throughout their journeys to Twycross Zoo, and we are slowly introducing them to each other so that they will soon live harmoniously as a bachelor group. They have responded very well to their new surroundings and to our visitors who have been very excited to see them during the Easter holidays, and we expect to see them exploring the outside Savannah area very soon.”
Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10.00 to 18.00. For more information and to book tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777