Its been a great summer so far for Africa with our newest paddock member Sally the giraffe having made her public debut a week or so before Christmas.
Sally came from Monarto Zoo in South Australia and spent a few months in a quiet area off display where she could complete her quarantine period while settling into her new home. Sally was very shy when she arrived and took a long time to work up the courage to approach any of her keepers. Eventually, after lots of quiet time spent with her, she started coming up and handfeeding from us and from there she gained lots of confidence.
This was the first hurdle but we were quite worried about the next, even bigger hurdle - getting her out into a paddock with a boisterous group of rhinos out there! The last thing we wanted was for Sally to get frightened in an unfamiliar environment and possibly hurt herself in a panic. Fortunately, at around about the time we were starting to think about getting Sally out into the paddock, we had created a second giraffe yard inside the paddock. This yard gives us somewhere safe to call the giraffe into when the rhinos feel like a hoon around the paddock - those crazy rhinos can cause mayhem!
This also gave us the perfect opportunity to give Sally a first look at the paddock with the rhinos and zebra on the other side of the fence! Once she was relaxed here, we gave the rhinos a couple of days to chill out the back while we let Sally explore her new paddock. After a tentative first day, Sally has soared in confidence and follows her mates Forrest, Penny and Rosie around like she's been here from the start! She is such a sweet girl and so polite, always waiting back while we put food out for the group - not like her greedy friends! She's also met the rhino and zebra and took all of this in her stride.
So keep your eyes out next time you visit Africa at Australia Zoo - Sally is the gorgeous girl with light coloured spots and a short tail!