2 March 2023
House move is no tall order for 14ft Nuru
Seven-year-old reticulated giraffe Nuru is taking a city break at London Zoo as part of a European breeding programme for the Endangered species – after being chauffeured between ZSL’s two conservation zoos in a ‘convertible’ this week (Monday 27 February).
The 14ft tall gentle giant cruised the 40 minutes from ZSL’s conservation zoo in Whipsnade to her historic new London home in a one-of-a-kind giraffe transporter, complete with retractable roof; meaning Nuru could trot on board under her own steam before settling down comfortably on a soft straw bed for the short journey.
London Zoo giraffe keeper Gemma Metcalf said: “Nuru was born at ZSL’s Whipsnade Zoo in 2016, and now that she’s fully grown it’s almost time for her to join her forever herd, elsewhere in Europe. But while those careful plans are being decided by the coordinator of the European breeding programme for reticulated giraffes, she’ll be enjoying an extended break with females Maggie and Molly at London Zoo.”
Nuru’s new grade-II-listed home, opened in 1836, was so innovative when it was built that it is one of the oldest zoo buildings in the world still used for its original purpose: the designs for Decimus Burton’s Giraffe House have since been shared across Europe, forming the foundation for other giraffe houses seen today.
Renovated in 2021, the expanded paddock includes an all-important sandy surface which is ideal for keeping giraffe hooves in tip top condition.
“We wanted to make Nuru feel instantly at home when she arrived, so we laid on a delicious housewarming lunch of carrots in preparation – they're her all-time favourite food and she wasted no time tucking in.”
“Nuru is a real character,” Gemma added. “She’s confident and inquisitive and she’s wasted no time exploring and getting to know Maggie and Molly, as well as the zebras next door.
“Nuru’s move is a really important part of the conservation breeding programme for the species. By leaving Whipsnade now, Nuru’s former herd can hopefully welcome more baby giraffes in the near future, before she herself moves on to have her own calves – all helping to protect the future of this amazing Endangered species.”
Reticulated giraffes (giraffa reticulata) are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, hunting and human/wildlife conflict. Nuru’s move is part of ZSL's core work protecting species around the world, while scientists and conservationists from ZSL - the conservation charity behind London and Whipsnade Zoos – also work with local communities in Africa to build stronger, sustainable relationships between people and wildlife.
Visitors can spot Nuru with her new herd on a trip to the London conservation zoo this spring. With more than 14,000 animals to see and be inspired by, you can book your tickets now.