(Trinidad Express) The arrival today of Melman, the nine-foot-tall giraffe, to Trinidad and Tobago has proven to be something of a tall tale.
Instead, the newest star attraction at the Emperor Valley Zoo, along with his travelling companions, two warthogs and two impala, has been delayed for a further two weeks to a month because of transportation concerns and precautions in the United States.
“There was a hitch with transportation (of the giraffe) from Texas to Miami. He was supposed to travel by road, but his (handlers) decided it would be safer and more comfortable to transport him (and the other animals) by air,” president of the Zoological Society Gupte Lutchmedial told the Express yesterday.
From Miami, the animals were supposed to get to Trinidad by freight plane, but the only plane big enough to hold the giraffe only makes one trip between Trinidad and Miami a week.
This is the fourth time Melman’s trip to Trinidad has been postponed, and since then he has grown three inches, and put on about 40 pounds, Lutchmedial said, adding to the challenge of transporting him.
The animals’ trip has since been rescheduled, but Lutchmedial said that might mean Melman’s mate, a yet unnamed female also destined for the Emperor Valley Zoo, could arrive on the same flight.
The giraffes are Rothschild’s giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi), also called Baringo or Ugandan giraffes, and are among the most endangered giraffe subspecies, with only a few hundred members in the wild.
They are expected to be part of a breeding programme at the zoo.
The zoo also recently added a male giant otter, sourced from England, to join the female already there.
The zoo hopes that this pair will also be part of a successful breeding programme.