When it comes to unique transport loads, a giraffe would have to be right up there. This week, three-year-old Inkosi made his way across the Nullarbor to his new home, where he’ll play a lead role in a local breeding program.
Inkosi, which means ‘the king’ in Zulu, left Perth Zoo on Monday and arrived at Monarto Safari Park on Tuesday.
The 800kg, 4-metre-tall animal was required to stand tall in his box for around 38 hours, as he was transported on the back of a truck along the Eyre Highway.
His journey included navigating under bridges such as the Leach Hwy/Welshpool Rd Bridge.
Inkosi’s keepers from Perth Zoo, along with Monarto Safari Park’s senior veterinarian travelled behind the precious cargo, to ensure he was safe and well for the entirety of the 2750km journey.
Given the height of the load, powerlines had to be lifted to make way for the very tall load.
Monarto Safari Park says there are now less giraffes left in the wild than elephants. Its national breeding program aims to help ensure the majestic creature’s survival.
Perth Zoo’s manager of zoology, John Lemon, said the number of giraffes in the wild had dwindled by more than 40 per cent in recent decades.
Ahead of the journey, Inkosi undertook months of preparation, with daily training to help ensure he’d be as comfortable as possible for the journey.
The crate was lined with marine carpet, equestrian rubber and jarrah sawdust for comfort.
“Perth Zoo are experts in giraffe transfers, and the dedicated team has been working hard on this major milestone for conservation,” said Environment Minister Reece Whitby.
“Perth Zoo’s conservation efforts extend well beyond the gates, and Inkosi’s transfer is a great example of this vital work in action.”
Upon his arrival at his new home, Monarto Safari Park took to Facebook to share the news. “The non-stop journey involved many logistical challenges but thankfully they made it safe, sound and with a giraffe poking his head out to eat the leaves at every opportunity,” they wrote.
“Inkosi will spend a week or so in quarantine before going out into the Waterhole exhibit where he’ll get to meet the herd of female giraffe.”
This week, Monarto Safari Park also welcomed another huge resident, with Carrie the southern white rhino arriving from Australia Zoo in Queensland. The enormous creature was transported across the country by Daryl Dickenson Transport.