Kiwi giraffe finds new home

Nakuru, a young female giraffe, is transported in a crate from Auckland Zoo through Mt Eden before embarking on her cross-Tasman voyage. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Nakuru, a young female giraffe, is transported in a crate from Auckland Zoo through Mt Eden before embarking on her cross-Tasman voyage. Photo / Sarah Ivey

She's spent nearly six days in a box, but Melbourne's newest resident barely paused to stretch her ample neck before she "strutted" onto Australian soil.

Zookeepers say 15-month-old giraffe Nakuru arrived safely at the quarantine area of Werribee Open Range Zoo on Saturday morning.

Her sea journey from Auckland Zoo was due to take five days but had to be extended slightly when her boat changed course to help rescue a solo sailor lost in rough seas.

It was among several vessels in the area summoned by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority to join the search, but they were called back as the weather worsened.

The yachtsman was eventually picked up by a helicopter.

Werribee Zoo veterinarian Sarah Frith was on hand as Nakuru was set free from her 4.2 metre travelling crate on Saturday.

"She wasn't even stiff after the journey," Dr Frith said.

"It took us a while to unbolt and open the travelling crate, and the whole time she was just trying to lick everyone."

Dr Frith said Nakuru was a "very relaxed" giraffe.

"She just strutted out, not even remotely fazed," she said.

"She was eating within a minute - she's as good as you could possibly hope."

Now Nakuru has another wait ahead of her. She needs to spend 30 days in quarantine before she can be transferred to Melbourne Zoo to be introduced to the zoo's male giraffe Makulu.

Nakuru is here as part of an Australasian breeding program.

- AAP

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