Giraffe project is no tall order
Motorists on the M20 are used to seeing some unusual loads on the move.
But one cargo definitely attracted a few double-takes on Monday afternoon as a trailer carrying a giraffe made its way down the motorway past Ashford.
The giraffe was being transported from Paignton Zoo in Devon to Port Lympne Wild Animal Park.
The head of the exotic animal could be seen poking above the tailgate of the vehicle making its way through traffic on the M25, M26 and M20.
The giraffe is called Valentino after being born on Valentine’s Day in 2012.
Paignton Zoo said Valentino is a Rothschild’s giraffe – classified as an endangered species – and he had to be hand-reared by keepers following rejection by his mother.
The tall cargo, clearly visible in the super-size HGV, was photographed by a Gravesend man. He posted on Twitter: “Just seen the most unusual sight on the M25, a #giraffe.”
Port Lympne said Valentino will join the two female Rothschild’s giraffes already at the park and his arrival signals the start of the reserve’s breeding programme with these endangered animals. Animal director Adrian Harland said: “We are delighted to welcome this lovely male giraffe to the reserve and to be accepted as part of this breeding programme.
“There are so few Rothschild’s giraffes in the wild that programmes like this one are essential.”
Port Lympne Reserve has now joined an exclusive group of just 14 institutions in the UK to have Rothschild’s giraffes and has become part of a worldwide breeding programme designed to save the endangered species. It is estimated that fewer than 700 individuals remain in the wild.
Paul Beer, head of the rhino and giraffe section, added: “The arrival of Valentino is fantastic news. He’s a good-looking, healthy male and I’m hoping that the girls take a shine to him.”
Visitors to the reserve will be able to see Valentino exploring his new surroundings on The African Experience – 100 acres of land, alive with African animals including black rhinos, zebras, wildebeest and ostriches.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever seen on a motorway? Write to Kentish Express, 34-36 North Street, Ashford TN24 8JR or email kentishexpress@ thekmgroup.co.uk
Valentino the giraffe in his new home at Port Lympne
The giraffe stuck in traffic on the M25 in Kent