The Greenville Zoo has announced plans to transfer its youngest giraffe, Tatu, to the Lehigh Valley Zoo in Schnecksville, Pa.
The transfer was made on recommendation from the Masai Giraffe Species Survival Plan Steering Committee, according to Greenville Zoo director Jeff Bullock. A transfer date has not yet been decided, but zoo officials expect it to take place before winter arrives.
Tatu was born on Feb. 2, 2016 to Autumn, the zoo’s 11-year-old female, and Walter, the zoo’s 11-year-old male. His birth was watched by thousands around the world when it was streamed by EarthCam. Walter was later transferred to Turtle Back Zoo in New Jersey, where he died earlier this year due to complications during surgery. In September 2016, the Greenville Zoo brought in a then 7-year-old giraffe named Miles.
Bullock said it is typically recommended that giraffe calves be transferred to another facility before their first birthday in order to prevent inbreeding. Before the relocation, Tatu will go through numerous pre-transfer tests, and zoo staff will develop a loading plan for safe transfer.
While at the Lehigh Valley Zoo, Tatu will be housed with a male giraffe named Murphy until he reaches an age when he can be paired with a suitable mate, according to Bullock.
“While it’s always sad to see a member of our zoo family leave, supporting and promoting conservation efforts is a critical part of our mission, and we must always focus on the needs of the overall population,” said Bullock. “To that end, with Miles and Autumn being such a highly recommended pair, we’re hopeful that we’ll soon be welcoming a new calf to the zoo family.”