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What’s in an intro?

Much planning goes into opening a new habitat for any animal, but it gets a bit more challenging when you need to plan for multiple species to get ready to share the same new habitat. With the construction on the new African Savanna quickly approaching completion, the Hoofstock Animal Care Team is working on plans to introduce the giraffes, zebras and ostriches to their new habitat, as well as to one another.

During construction, these three species have had their own specific behind-the-scenes areas, so it’s important to make sure each species gets time to learn how to navigate the new habitat before we reintroduce them to each other. Our current plan is to have the giraffes spend time in the habitat alone, then the zebras, and lastly the ostriches. Once each species is familiar with the new space, we will begin pairing two species together at a time. Giraffes and zebras, then zebras with ostriches, then giraffes with ostriches. To complete the introductions, we’ll then have all three species in the habitat together. We expect this process to take a few weeks, adjusting the timeline based on each species’ comfort level with each step in the process.

Other introductions we need to consider are the animals’ introductions to you! In our former African Plains habitat, these animals were below the viewing level and a little further away. Once the African Savanna opens later this summer, you will be at the same foot level as the animals. This means we’ll need to take steps to slowly introduce the presence of people to the animals. Lastly, depending on their comfort levels, the giraffes will be re-trained to participate at the new giraffe feeding station. They’ll need to learn where the new location is, when feeding times are, and how to be fed by guests who are on a different level than before.
Kate R.
Lead Keeper, Hoofstock

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