Meet Matumi! Adelaide Zoo’s leggy seven-week-old giraffe calf has been given the perfect moniker thanks to a public naming competition.
The little calf made his official debut out and about at Adelaide Zoo today, where Assistant Curator of Ungulates and Carnivores, Chad Crittle, announced his name to an excited crowd.
Matumi is an African Teak, a flowering, evergreen tree, found in Southern Africa.
The little lad was born at Monarto Safari Park to 17-year-old Thula on 5 January, and while initial signs of bonding were promising, unfortunately Thula had not fed the calf within the first 24 hours.
With hot weather approaching, teams across both sites made the decision to move the calf to Adelaide Zoo to give him the best welfare outcome.
Chad said keepers think Matumi was the perfect choice for the calf, who is very curious, calm and loves interacting with his keepers.
“We think Matumi is such a great name for the little guy, he is not only growing tall and strong like an African Teak tree, but his personality is blooming here at Adelaide Zoo,” he said.
“His name also reflects the hope we have for his species in the wild. Not many people realise but giraffe are threatened with extinction so our wish is to see populations become evergreen into the future.
“We introduced Matumi to the girls yesterday and gave him a little trial out on exhibit. He did so well that he could make his official debut today.
“Both three-year-old Nolean and 18-year-old Kimya have taken really well to him, in particular Kimya; she is smitten. He has been following them both around closely and is quickly following in their long footsteps.
“The public have had a wonderful reaction to him so far and we can’t wait to see him thrive and grow.”
Giraffe have been part of the landscape at Adelaide Zoo for over 90 years and as part of Adelaide Zoo’s African Oasis Master Plan upgrade, the zoo will expand the size of the giraffe exhibit to provide over 5000m² of roaming space, making it one of the largest metropolitan giraffe exhibits in Australia. This exhibit will also include viewing out to and from the Torrens River with additional species such as Nyala and Common Ostrich roaming the African-inspired exhibit.
While many people believe the giraffe species is safe, the International Union of Conservation (IUCN) has classified the giraffe species as vulnerable to extinction.
Both Monarto Safari Park and Adelaide Zoo offer giraffe experiences suitable for all ages. These close-up encounters give animal lovers a chance to hand feed a giraffe or two. It is experiences like these that help to build an interest in the future of species and to invest in saving them from extinction.
Zoos SA is long-term supporter of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and donates money through our Giraffe Safari and feed experiences across both sites. This support has helped GCF purchase GPS satellite-tracking units called Twiga Trackers. These provide a better understanding of where wild giraffe move, how much space they need, and how they utilise their habitats across a range of different environments. For more information please visit zoossa.com.au.