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May 22, 2024

Benito the Giraffe Begins 50-Hour Journey to New Home in Warmer Climate

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Jan 23, 2024

Benito the giraffe has begun an arduous 50-hour journey across Mexico to his new home at a safari park in central Puebla state. The move aims to provide Benito with a more suitable climate and potential mates after years in isolation.

Lead Up to the Move

Benito, an 8-year-old male giraffe, was donated to the municipal Ecological Park in Juárez, just across the border from El Paso, Texas in 2016. As the park’s only giraffe, he has lived alone without potential mates.

Additionally, the severe cold snaps that have hit the Juárez area because of climate change are unhealthy for a giraffe adapted to hot African plains. With winter temperatures plunging below freezing at night, experts worried about Benito’s long-term prospects at the park.

“We were very worried about Benito because – as everyone knows – giraffes stand up and sit down in order to rest,” said park veterinarian Enrique Serrano. “And this makes them very vulnerable when temperatures drop below zero.”

Preparations for a Long Journey

The risky transfer of Benito to a new home began to take shape in recent months after the director of central Mexico’s Africam Safari park offered to take Benito. The park in Puebla state has a hotter climate and other giraffes that could provide companionship.

Moving a nearly 10-foot tall giraffe for a two-day trip posed significant logistical challenges. Zookeepers trained Benito to enter the specially built metal transport cage to prepare him. They also worked on getting him accustomed to the harness they attached to the cage to lift him onto a truck.

Benito’s Journey Begins

On January 21st, Benito left the Juárez Ecological Park at dawn. Caretakers led him into a metal transport crate hitched to the back of a truck. The 14-hour drive to the city of Puebla is the first leg of a journey spanning over 1900 kilometers (1200 miles).

Day Route
Jan 21 Juárez to Puebla City (14 hrs)
Jan 22 Puebla City to Africam Safari park (10 hrs)

The semi-trailer truck can travel only at slow speeds on winding mountain roads. It also needs to stop every few hours so handlers can offer Benito hay and water. Plus, they check the trailer’s padding and inspect Benito’s harness and crate for injury risks.

Breaks Throughout Trip Reason
Every 2-3 hours Give food and water
Frequent harness checks Ensure safety
Check trailer padding Prevent injury

“Benito comes from a hot, dry climate, and in Puebla he will enjoy more adequate climate conditions, the company of other giraffes, and a better quality of life,” said Jorge Martinez, director of the Africam Safari park, which houses over 1,800 animals.

What Comes Next for Benito

If all goes according to plan, Benito will take up residence at Africam Safari alongside other giraffes on January 23rd. He’ll also continue to undergo some special treatment after arrival.

“We’ll keep up a special diet, based on fruits and plants that he likes,” Martinez said. “He’ll have plants brought from Africa, North America and also from the Yucatan peninsula.”

While Benito’s long, anxiously-awaited trip proceeds, people across Mexico and the world are following the lonely giraffe’s journey. Many see it as a story about innovation, cooperation and fighting climate change impacts collabortively.

Benito’s relocation “is very exciting for us, more than just moving a giraffe,” said Park Operations Coordinator Gabriel Eugenio Anaya Vallejo. “It’s the symbolism, what’s behind it – it’s taking care of nature, trying to match our animals with better climates.”

As Benito settles into his new home, his relief from isolation and improved quality of life offer inspiration. His long trek highlights the increasing importance of caring for animals displaced by climate upheavals beyond their control.

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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