Benito, the once ‘lonely’ giraffe, arrived at his new home in central Mexico after a lengthy 40-hour road trip.
The four-year-old giraffe touched down at the Africam Safari Park on Tuesday in central Puebla state and was nestled into his new home that he has to share with other giraffes.
The 7.5-acre enclosure already holds seven giraffes, three of which are females. As Benito arrived, the other giraffes were seen looking at the giant box he was transported in as it pulled into the park.
Benito was transferred after environmental groups voiced strong complaints about his conditions at the city-run Central Park zoo in Ciudad Juarez, where weather in the summer is brutally hot and temperatures plunge during the winter.
Benito, the once ‘lonely’ giraffe, arrived at his new home in the Africam Safari Park on Tuesday
As he arrived, the other giraffes at the park watched him pull in. Benito will have to share his enclosure with seven other giraffes
On Sunday night, a crane carefully lifted a container holding the giraffe onto a truck while city dwellers in love with the animal said a bittersweet goodbye
On Sunday night, a crane carefully lifted a container holding the giraffe onto a truck while city dwellers in love with the animal said a bittersweet goodbye.
The container, more than 16.5feet high, was specially designed for Benito, and the giraffe was allowed to become familiar with it during the weekend.
The animal’s head stuck through the top of the big wooden and metal box, but a frame allowed a tarp to cover over Benito and insulate him from the cold, wind and rain as well as from noise and the sight of landscape speeding by.
Inside the container was straw, alfalfa, water and vegetables, and electronic equipment monitored the temperature and allowed technicians to even talk to the animal.
The crate was accompanied by a convoy of police, National Guard and press vehicles.
After he made it to his new home, Benito was held in a tall-roofed medical evaluation room at the park. The park plans to move him out to meet the rest of the herd as soon as possible, possibly within a couple of days.
Frank Carlos Camacho, the director of the Africam Safari Park said: ‘He has been alone for a long time, and it is going to take us a few days to introduce him to the rest of the herd.’
‘But even so, we believe this is a very stable herd and that they will accept him. It all depends on Benito, how he interacts with the herd,’ Camacho added.
Benito was captured on video as he sniffed around the park and accepted a carrot from a park staff member.
Frank Carlos Camacho, the director of the Africam Safari park is seen speaking to the press after Benito arrived on Tuesday
Inside the container was straw, alfalfa, water and vegetables, and electronic equipment monitored the temperature and allowed technicians to even talk to the animal
At his old home in Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, Benito had little to do in his half-acre enclosure where he often ate loads of alfafa.
In the border area’s blazing hot summer Benito had little shade as photos showed him crouching to fit under a small, circular shade canopy to keep cool.
In the winter, ice sometimes formed in his enclosure’s pond and there were few trees for him to munch on.
At the Africam park, Benito will start eating leaves from the acacia tree, one of the favorite foods of giraffes in their native habitat in Africa.
‘Benito is going to be introduced to foods that are new to him, which are the ones his cousins in Africa eat. Even though Benito is not familiar with them, he’s going to like them,’ Camacho said.
Benito has reached the age where giraffes are known to reach sexual maturity as many males separate from the herd and go looking for a mate.
An environmentalist dressed as a giraffe observes Benito’s transfer with other supporters
At the Africam Safari park, the giraffes live in a much larger space that more closely resembles their natural habitat
‘I am very pleased that Benito will be the next stud at Africam,’ Camacho said.
Benito originally came from a zoo in Sinaloa, a state on Mexico´s northern Pacific coast with a much more temperate climate.
Benito couldn´t stay with the two other giraffes there because they were a couple, and zookeepers feared the male would become territorial and attack Benito, so he was donated to Ciudad Juarez.
At the Africam Safari park, the giraffes live in a much larger space that more closely resembles their natural habitat. Visitors travel through the park in all-terrain vehicles to observe animals as if they were on safari.
Camacho said: ‘He´s ready to be a giraffe. He will reproduce soon, and contribute to the conservation of this wonderful species.’