x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Moving giraffes on Sir Bani Yas Island a tall order

More than 50 giraffes living on Sir Bani Yas Island are adjusting to life in a new enclosure on the island after being relocated.

More than 50 giraffes living on Sir Bani Yas Island are adjusting to life in a new enclosure after being relocated.
More than 50 giraffes living on Sir Bani Yas Island are adjusting to life in a new enclosure after being relocated.

ABU DHABI // More than 50 giraffes living on Sir Bani Yas Island are adjusting to life in a new enclosure on the island after being relocated last week.

The new habitat for the island’s reticulated giraffe population, which is native to northeast Africa, features an obstruction-free landscape and a shade house. The enclosure also includes an external viewing platform made from recycled materials placed at giraffe height to give guests on the nature and wildlife drives a unique view of the animals.

The giraffes, some as old as 25, were moved by the Desert Islands conservation team in an effort to help control the population. Introduced to the island 30 years ago by Sheikh Zayed, they reproduce four to eight times a year, and the new enclosure provides more space for roaming and feeding.

Construction on the new habitat took three months and a team of more than 15 specialists. The observation platform was built using floorboards from a hotel renovation project and posts and rope from old fencing.

Because relocating giraffes can be difficult, the conservation team built a specially designed walkway to reduce the stress on the animals. The giraffes were able to walk to their new home and did not have to be transported by truck.

Sir Bani Yas Island is home to a large wildlife reserve, which includes one of the world’s largest herds of Arabian Oryx and many endangered or vulnerable wildlife species, as well as more than 100 individual species of wild birds.

jthomas@thenational.ae