'World's tallest giraffe' at British zoo measures 19ft

Inglês Kids British
'World's tallest giraffe' at British zoo measures 19ft
Guillermo T.
em 19 de Abril de 2016

Zulu the giraffe stands head and shoulders above his friends as his keepers claim he could be the tallest animal in the world.

He lives at Folly Farm zoo in Saundersfoot and Tenby, Pembrokeshire, and stands at just over 19ft - believed to be taller than any other animal in captivity.

The average giraffe stands at 15ft from head to foot and Zulu towers over the three other male giraffes he shares his enclosure with at the zoo.

Although keepers have no way of accurately measuring 18-year-old Zulu, his height is estimated because his head just brushes under the 20ft doors of his enclosure.

Zulu weighs 1.3 tonnes and when he was moved from the Netherlands five years ago, even the specialist giraffe transporters were astounded by his build.

Zulu weighs 1.3 tonnesZulu weighs 1.3 tonnes  Photo: Caters

Tim Morphew, curator at Folly Farm, said: "We regularly get giraffe keepers from other zoos who come to us and all marvel at just how big Zulu is. Nobody has ever said they have found one that is bigger and we reckon he's the tallest.

"In the wild, Zulu would be out competing with other males for attention from the females and because of his size would be very impressive.

"But, because of the breeding programme in the European Union, none of our giraffes are put out to stud, so it's the bachelor life for him.

"There are nine different types of giraffe that we know of, but generally they have an average height of about 15 feet. Even by giraffe standards, Zulu is a giant - he's a gentle giant though, with a very calm nature.



"Because Zulu is such a gentle giant, the kids can get really up close with him and there's been a few times where a child has been able to pat his head or stroke his nose"
Tim Morphew


"We first suspected he was so big when we saw him standing next to the rolling doors at the edge of his pen - it's one of his favourite places to stand.

"Because he weighs so much though - over 1.3 tonnes - if Zulu doesn't want to do something, he won't do it. He's so big there's no moving him, so we haven't been able to measure him properly.

"He loves to stick his head through the viewing platform to say hello to visitors and can be quite cheeky as well when they go to pet him. People are always taken aback by his size.

"Our younger two, Rian and Sillan will often have a bit of a scrap with each other, and our other giraffe, Taharqa, whose 15, does his own thing, but nothing fazes Zulu. He's a big softie despite his size."

The 39-year-old added: "I personally brought Zulu to the zoo when he first arrived from Amsterdam just over five years ago. We had to pick him up from Yorkshire and drive him all the way back to Wales, so he saw a lot of the country while we were on the way.

"Even the transporters, who specialise in moving animals like giraffes, were amazed at just how tall Zulu was. They kept saying: 'What a big boy'."

• Gallery: The world's biggest animals

Thanks to his build, Zulu spends most of the day eating more than 20 kilograms of hay and requires a regular top up from his keepers.

Mr Morphew said: "The keepers are always bringing more alfalfa hay into the enclosure for the giraffes, as they need access to it all day every day. Even when the zoo is shut, we have somebody there topping them up.

"Zulu gets through at least 20 kilograms of alfalfa hay a day and then another three kilograms of hard feed on top of that.

"But because Zulu is such a gentle giant, the kids can get really up close with him and there's been a few times where a child has been able to pat his head or stroke his nose."

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