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Dave the giraffe arrives at Woodland Park Zoo

Posted by: Caileigh Robertson, Communications

Moving a giraffe is one tall order, but zookeepers at Woodland Park Zoo know just how to handle it. On May 30, we welcomed nearly 2-year-old Dave the giraffe to our herd, all the way from Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo.

Dave steps out of the trailer and into his new home at Woodland Park Zoo. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

Dave made the 2,000-mile trek from the Chicago area in an extra tall trailer, offering greater neck and leg room for the long haul. The heightened trailer is equipped with slip-proof flooring and lots of bedding for resting. At his young age, Dave is not quite full grown, reaching just under 11 feet tall. His smaller stature made for a more comfortable move. To ensure a smooth transition from Brookfield Zoo, we worked together to find experienced drivers who specialize in large animal transportation for zoos nationwide.

The extra tall trailer provided stretching room for the young giraffe. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

Dave’s road trip was complete with a seamless arrival at Woodland Park Zoo, where he was greeted at the giraffe barn by curious onlookers including the three members of his new herd—Olivia, Tufani and Misawa.

The other giraffes watched Dave's arrival. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

In this video, you’ll see the unloading process from Dave’s arrival. Keepers helped guide the truck to the Giraffe Barn. The trailer door opened and out stepped Dave. Just as planned, he headed down the outdoor hallway right into the indoor barn where his keepers can now keep an eye on him during the standard 30-day quarantine for all newly arrived animals. Look for adult females Olivia and Tufani taking notice of the handsome new guy in the video—and our little calf, Misawa, barely batting an eye at Dave’s smooth entrance!

Dave will be off-view during this initial quarantine period. While visitors can’t see him just yet, the other giraffes have visual contact with him and they are all showing quite a bit of interest in each other.

To help transition his diet, Dave arrived with his own pack of food and feeders from Chicago. He'll eventually be moved over to Woodland Park Zoo's giraffe diet as he adjusts. Photo by Kirsten Pisto/Woodland Park Zoo.

Introductions to the herd and other savanna animals will slowly take place upon completion of Dave’s quarantine exams. When he’s ready to debut out on the savanna, we’ll be sure to let you all know!

Though our behind-the-scenes Giraffe Barn Cam is currently down during this time of transition in the barn, you can tune into our new, outdoor Savanna Cam to see Olivia, Tufani, Misawa and the other savanna residents out on the exhibit plains.

In their native habitat, giraffe and wildlife species that share the east African plains are facing extreme habitat loss and destruction, primarily from human-animal conflicts. In partner with the Tarangire Elephant Project, Woodland Park Zoo supports a protected area for giraffe, elephants and various vulnerable species to provide a healthy environment for wildlife. The east Africa conservation area is patrolled by 33 anti-poaching game scouts surrounding Tarangire National Park.


Katja R. said…
Welcome Dave! As young as he is, is he a future mate for Tufani?
Yes, we're hoping he can become a mate once he matures!
Unknown said…
Good luck in your new home, Dave! We will miss you here in Chicagoland. But knowing who you are named after, I'm sure you will make new friends soon.
Anonymous said…
Dave: So glad to have you here. Let me know when you can have company. Be sure to let the keepers know if there is anything you need. We love you!
Aaron said…
Anyone know why Dave was moved from Chicago to Seattle?
Hi Aaron--Accredited zoos like Woodland Park and Brookfield work together to identify long-term homes for each animal and breeding partners for those who may have the opportunity to add to the diversity of the gene pool. Dave was a great match for joining our herd and may find a fitting mate here once he matures.
Anonymous said…
Will Misawa stay here in Seattle or is Dave coming here and Misawa moving away?
Misawa is still here and there are no immediate plans for him to leave. Naturally as he matures, we may want to look for an opportunity to pair him with unrelated females, so at that time we'll begin discussing some options with other zoos. For now, he's still our little guy and he's quite fond of his new friend, Dave!