Meet our new male giraffe!

September 22, 2022

We’ve got so much love for our latest new arrival Mburo, a 3-year-old male Rothschild’s giraffe.

Amongst a number of distinguishing features that will help make him easy for guests to spot, Mburo has a love heart on his left cheek. ♥

Mburo is the first male giraffe at Marwell for five years and will live with our females, Makeda, Christa, and Ruby, who were all born at the zoo.

He still has a bit of growing to do but stands at around 4 metres tall. When fully grown Rothschild’s giraffe can be as tall as 5.7m.

Keepers report that Mburo has settled into his new home well after arriving in specialist transport on Thursday 8 September.

Adam Ford, Senior Animal Keeper, said: “Mburo’s arrival is very exciting for Marwell and the future of the Rothschild’s giraffes, furthering Marwell’s in-situ conservation programmes. He is settling in well with the girls and is proving to be a big character already.

“He has many distinguishable features such as his large ossicones (the horns on a giraffe’s head) which both bulls and cows have, but in bull giraffes, they are always more prominent. He also has a perfect love heart on his left cheek!”

Every giraffe can be identified by the pattern on its coat, which is completely unique, much like a human fingerprint.

Our giraffe herd is being quarantined for the moment to reduce the risk of introducing parasites and disease. This means that viewing of the giraffes is currently slightly limited.  There are still places to see them but the areas in closest proximity have been closed off for the time being.

Did you know?

  • A giraffe’s tongue is 45-50cm long, black/blue/purple, and prehensile – capable of grabbing onto something.
  • The heart of a fully grown giraffe weighs around 11kg and is about 60cm long making it the largest of any land animal.
  • Giraffe only drink once every few days even when water is readily available – when they do drink, their necks are ironically too short to reach the water surface without splaying their legs.
  • Female giraffe give birth standing up, which means that newborn calves begin their lives with a 2-metre drop.

Giraffes have been resident at Marwell since 1971, shortly before the zoo opened to the public.

Conservation charity Marwell Wildlife received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: Sustainable Development in July and owns and operates the zoo.