This past weekend we took Milo to Orana wildlife park near Christchurch. It was originally set up as a drive-through safari-type experience but is now walker-only. The expansive enclosures and dilapidated roads don’t have the feel of a congested city zoo, and the proximity to the animals is refreshingly un-American. Each day visitors can feed the giraffes handfuls of whatever seasonal treat the keepers have cut while these docile giants swing their heads back and forth looking for the next edible bouquet. Keepers gave a brief tutorial on holding the branches tightly so the giraffes can strip the leaves off, then let us at it. Milo wasn’t so keen on getting too close.
Feeding these guys was super neat. Their pre-historic-looking heads bob up and down as their lips smooch out in search of treats. Their purple tongues grasp the branches, yanking them into their mouths. And those eye lashes–wow! Strange but wonderful creatures.
These two are babies, betrothed from youth. The far one just arrived from Australia as the mail order groom, and the female was born here. Zealandia, the company I work for, has a network of trucks that run the whole of the north and south island, so my boss’s mother-in-law volunteered them to transport the new Australian arrival from Auckland (north island) to Christchurch (south island). Good thing giraffes are so docile! We had two drivers that made the trip; one from Auckland to the interisland ferry, the other from Picton to Christchurch. The baby groom just got out of quarantine and seems to have clued into the daily feeding routine quite well!