Hyderabad zoo’s only male giraffe is desperately looking for a mate. But locating a suitable one for our lonely George is taking zoo authorities on a worldwide hunt
If he could, he would put out a matrimonial ad like this: I am a peace-loving, lonely gentle creature of 7.5 years, residing at the Nehru Zoological Park in Hyderabad. Invites an alliance from a very tall (20 ft), young, vegetarian and a mottled beauty. Caste, nationality, no bar. No dowry demands.
The lonely male giraffe, the only one in the City zoo, has been waiting for many years for a mate. The search has been taken out globally. This one, the only surviving spotted gent of the five brought in from Africa a few years ago is unable to mate and procreate for the lack of a female species in the zoo premises.
The zoo’s official for public relations, Hanifulla says, “Every effort is being made to locate a mate for him, if not from Africa, then from Europe at least. Some encouraging news has come in from Europe but it is still too early to disclose anything.”
He said that the zoo had been successful in replenishing the stock of Cheetahs by securing three of them from Czech Republic recently in exchange of two lions and five crocodiles. But, getting a giraffe, and that too a female, is no mean task. “The procedure of securing a giraffe is also extremely tedious and long,” he said.
A giraffe’s lifetime usually extends to 20 years. It’s the tallest living terrestrial animal and the largest ruminant. This one has to get a mate without delay as 7.5 years is considered nearly middle age in giraffe years. Veterinarians say loneliness induced stress could prove debilitating in the long run.
“For humans sexual desire is throughout a lifetime so he can control it. But for animals it is traumatic if they fail to mate. That’s why elephants run amuck in heat. A giraffe’s failure to find a mate can sexually and mentally disable it,” said founder president of VSPC (Visakha Society for the Protection and Care of Animals), an NGO that stands for protection and care of animals.
“Appeals have gone everywhere, let us hope. We too don’t want to see him suffer,” said Hanifulla. Meanwhile, the lonely George, as we may call him, keeps ruminating and meditating, looking at the visitors with a bored expression.
Giraffe factfile, and what a fact!
The giraffe has an advantage. The super predators like lion, tiger do not attack an adult giraffe (they seem to be in awe of it) but they have no qualm in stealing its cubs. Drinking is the most strenuous task for this animal. To drink from a waterhole it must spread its legs and bend down in an awkward position. Mercifully, Giraffes only need to drink once in a week or so. Female giraffe give birth standing up. Her new-born endures a rather rude welcome into the world by falling more than 5 feet to the ground at birth. But, look at Mother Nature’s magic. These infants can stand in half an hour after birth and can run with their mothers ten hours later!
About the Author (Author Profile)
PK Surendran is senior editor at Postnoon.