Long jour­ney to Welling­ton over for Zuri

South Waikato News - - What’s On - NICOLE LAWTON

South Waikato res­i­dents got a were sur­prised to see a gi­raffe in the back of a truck on the main road on Mon­day.

Zuri the gi­raffe spent more than 12 hours on the road as she trav­elled south from Auck­land to her new home at Welling­ton Zoo.

She caught the at­ten­tion of school­child­ren in Ti­rau, had a late lunch about mid-af­ter­noon in Toko­roa, and en­dured a chilly 4 de­grees Cel­sius when pass­ing through Waiouru at 6pm.

Af­ter the 650km road trip, she ar­rived in Welling­ton just af­ter mid­night and Auck­land Zoo spokes­woman Bernie Vo­gels said one-year-old was ‘‘do­ing re­ally well’’.

‘‘She spent a lot of time on her feet, but also sit­ting down and rest­ing.’’

The 3.5-me­tre gi­raffe was put into her crate in Auck­land around 7.30am be­fore be­ing craned onto a truck.

‘‘We took reg­u­lar breaks to check on her and give her food, and she ate quite a lot which was re­ally good.’’

The trip cre­ated a unique op­por­tu­nity for many North Is­land res­i­dents, with Vo­gels say­ing ‘‘the real high­light was all the kids from all the lit­tle towns’’.

She was in good spir­its through­out the jour­ney, which had not been with­out its hic­cups.

Zuri’s large flatbed truck, with its cus­tomised gi­raffe crate, had to make sev­eral at­tempts at round­ing a tight cor­ner on the way out of Auck­land Zoo.

Then, as the con­voy reached the Bom­bay Hills, there was a slight de­lay as the crate got stuck on a bolt stick­ing out from un­der a bridge, Auck­land Zoo’s Nat Sul­li­van said.

As the jour­ney pro­gressed, Zuri was putting her head down more, pos­si­bly to sta­bilise her­self, or to keep out of the wind.

There was a quick stop in Toko­roa so she could have a snack, be­fore con­tin­u­ing on her jour­ney south.

The truck trav­elled at nor­mal speeds but took longer than a nor­mal trip to al­low for height or traf­fic-re­lated de­tours, as well as fre­quent checks on Zuri.

Along with a zookeeper and vet, Sul­li­van drove down be­hind Zuri to keep an eye on her in her be­spoke crate, which had room for her to move around, sit down and stand fully up­right.

Zuri, Auck­land Zoo’s young gi­raffe, leaves Auck­land for Welling­ton Zoo on Mon­day.

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