A Giraffe’s wild home is the warmth of the African savannas, at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, we make Indiana feel like home—even in the winter.
Like all of our zoo animals, our six giraffe stay here in the cold winter months, and anything below 50 degrees is a temp too cold for them outside. Therefore, we keep their barn nice and warm for them to stay cozy.
We have a massive barn for our giraffe to stay in during the winter months. This space is filled with room to roam and eat and, to make sure our giraffe have the mental and physical stimulants they require, we give them enrichment activities.
The purpose of enrichment activities is to give the giraffe mental and physical stimulation that elicits natural behavior. Training is a big stimulant for them and builds the relationship between keeper and giraffe. All the training is based on positive association that consists of patience and many yummy treats, like apples and carrots.
This positive association has been wonderful for Luna, our shy giraffe, who didn’t want to leave the barn for years! She was warm, comfortable and didn’t want to budge! The positive training gave her the confidence she needed and she now loves joining her outgoing sister, Mystic, exploring the Zoo and interacting with guests. The positive training, along with the rest of the enrichments, are meant to challenge our giraffe to keep them from getting bored. We provide various types of feeders that require the giraffe to put in more physical and mental effort to figure out how to get to their tasty treats. We’ll even give them some toys for them to move around and make noise with—particularly if we have a baby since they really enjoy making a raucous.
If you want to learn more about our giraffe, and say hello to Luna and Mystic, come visit the Zoo!
Written by Jordan Willis, communications intern