Lonely giraffe Benito sets off on a 40-hour road trip in search of warm weather…and love | Unusual news
Benito travels in a box that has been strapped to the back of a truck – and while it is 16 meters (52 feet) tall, the roof can be lowered to pass under bridges.
by Connor Sifton, news reporter @conorsefton
Tuesday 23 January 2024 02:57, United Kingdom
A lone giraffe has begun a 40-hour road trip to a new home – in search of warmer weather and perhaps a mate.
Jealousy forced Benito to leave the zoo Mexican state of Sinaloa last year, and was moved to a park near the US border with temperatures as low as 9 degrees Celsius (48 Fahrenheit).
Campaigners had been calling for the four-year-old to move to a sunnier climate, and now a specially designed container will transport him to a safari park about 90 miles (145 km) away.
Benito travels in a box that has been strapped to the back of a truck – and while it is 16 meters (52 feet) high, the roof can be lowered to pass under bridges.
His head sticks out of the top of the box, but a tarp is used to insulate him from the cold, wind and rain.
Well-wishers chanted “We love you Benito” as he began his journey.
“We have been told a little that he will leave, but it also gives us great pleasure… the weather conditions are not suitable for him,” said a local resident in Ciudad Juarez, where the giraffe was staying until recently.
In the summer, Benito had little shade in his half-acre barn, with photos showing him bending over to fit a small awning.
Ice would sometimes form on Fence Pond in the winter, and there were few trees to eat.
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He was born at a zoo that was home to two other giraffes, but was unable to stay there because zookeepers feared the male would become territorial and attack baby Benito.
There are three giraffes in his new home, and Benito will live in a much larger space that resembles his natural habitat.
Frank Carlos Camacho, who is accompanying the giraffe on his long journey, said: “Benito is doing very, very well” – and he has received lots of gifts as a reward.
Inside his container are hay, alfalfa, water and vegetables, as well as equipment that enables technicians to talk to Benito on the way.
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He is accompanied by a convoy of police, environmental officials and the National Guard.
“He’s ready to be a giraffe,” Camacho said. “It will reproduce soon and contribute to the preservation of this wonderful species.”