A young male giraffe is leaving Paignton Zoo Environmental Park. Tonda, who will be three years old in February, is going to Chessington Zoo, part of Chessington World of Adventures, in Surrey.
Tonda was born to mother Janica and father Yoda in February 2010. At 4.3 metres in height he is now a young or sub-adult and ready to move on. But how do you move an animal that tall?
Zoo spokesperson Philip Knowling explained: “Tonda has been used to feeding in a crate positioned against the door to the paddock and on the day of his departure this will be replaced by a low wheel-base trailer with an adjustable roof to suit his height.
The Zoo’s Manitou telehandler vehicle will be used to manoeuvre the trailer into position.” The 200-mile journey should take around four hours. Neil Bemment, Curator of Mammals and Director of Operations at Paignton Zoo, explained: “Tonda needs to move on so that we can manage our growing herd, with the two young calves born last year.
He may breed at Chessington in the future, but for the time being he will form a small bachelor group with two other young males. “He is pretty laid back and enjoys the attention of his keepers – I’m sure he will take the move in his stride!”
The name Tonda means worthy of praise. It is Latin and used as a short form of Antonius in the Czech and Slovak regions, which is where his mother came to Devon from. Paignton Zoo Environmental Park is a registered charity.
For more information go to www.paigntonzoo.org.uk or ring 0844 474 2222.