The world’s tallest animals will be making south Gloucestershire their home later this year as Wild Place Project reveals plans to bring in giraffe.
The attraction has received planning permission to create a new £1.1million giraffe house and paddock.
Work is now underway to develop the new 1.8 acre exhibit, which will be located in Wild Place Project’s existing Edge of Africa exhibit.
In a spectacular new guest experience, the house and paddock will allow guests to enjoy an interactive, up-close and personal encounter with the long-legged animals.
A high-level viewing platform will not only provide an impressive face-to-face perspective of the majestic animals but will also allow guests the opportunity to hand-feed the giraffe - creating lasting memories.
The new exhibit, which will also be home to Wild Place Project’s current zebra and eland residents, will feature a waterhole and hard standing area for the animals and themed dwellings and terraced seating for guests.
Nigel Simpson, head of operations at Wild Place Project, said: “This has been a long time coming and is a result of lots of planning and hard work. We are thrilled that the time has come that we can finally announce our exciting plans and welcome these majestic animals to north Bristol.
“We are extremely grateful to have received enormous support for this project and would like to say a huge thank you to everyone who has donated, got involved in our fundraising events and stuck their neck out for our Giraffe House Appeal.”
The Giraffe House is being built by Keynsham-based construction and interior fit-out company, Dribuild, who are also the headline sponsor of the exhibit.
Managing Director of Dribuild, Matt Tyler, said: “We are delighted to be involved in such a prestigious project; not only in its unique construction but also as headline sponsor of the Giraffe House for the coming years, which will assist in a small way towards the conservation of such amazing animals.
“We’re very excited to be on site and to be creating such an exceptional experience for Wild Place Project’s visitors and also having the unique opportunity to track the lives of the herd of giraffe once they’ve moved into their new homes and their progress over the upcoming months.”
Giraffe numbers have fallen from 140,000 to less than 80,000 in just 15 years. There are now fewer giraffe left in the wild than African elephants.
The Giraffe House build at Wild Place is closely linked with Bristol Zoological Society’s field conservation project in Cameroon, which is seeing a dedicated team of conservationists launching a new effort to save one of the few populations of Kordofan giraffe left in the wild.
Bristol Zoological Society’s head of conservation science, Dr Grainne McCabe, said: “Kordofan giraffe are in very serious trouble in the wild. With threats from habitat loss due to huge herds of cattle present in the area and poaching for bushmeat, these iconic animals are disappearing quickly and quietly towards extinction. If nothing is done to protect them, there is a real chance they will be lost forever.”
Bristol Zoological Society, which owns Wild Place Project and Bristol Zoo Gardens, is a conservation and education charity that relies on the generous support of the public not only to fund its important work but also its vital conservation and research projects spanning five continents.
For more information about the Society’s conservation projects, visit the website at www.bristolzoo.org.uk/save-wildlife.