The Greenville Zoo welcomed a new resident to the zoo family this week. His name is Miles and he is a seven-year-old male Masai giraffe. Miles was born on January 30, 2009 at the Houston Zoo, where he was hand-raised by the zoo staff. Earlier this year, the Giraffe Species Survival Program (SSP) recommended that Miles be transferred to the Greenville Zoo to breed with Autumn but zoo staff postponed his arrival to give Autumn and Tatu time to bond and Tatu time to grow before a new male was introduced.
Autumn’s mate Walter was among 20 Masai giraffes from across North America that the Giraffe SSP recommended for transfer to other facilities. Because their pairing had resulted in two successful births (Kiko and Tatu), the SSP recommended that Walter be transferred to the Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ to join the bachelor herd there. His transfer took place in mid-April. To create better genetically matched breeding groups, the SSP also recommended 39 females, including Autumn, for breeding. Miles is ranked 12th genetically within the male breeding population of 53 giraffes and Autumn is ranked 10th genetically within the female breeding population of 61 giraffes.
According to zoo administrator Jeff Bullock, Miles must first undergo a 30-day quarantine period before he is allowed to share the exhibit with Autumn and Tatu - a practice the zoo employs for all new residents. “Miles is settling in well, and while he was hesitant to enter the barn at first, once he saw Autumn, he went right it,” said Bullock. “He is much taller than we expected and has some of the longest legs I have ever seen on a giraffe.”
The Greenville Zoo staff will spend the next few weeks getting Miles accustomed to his new home and helping him get acquainted with his new routine. Until he is placed on exhibit, the public will be able to see him on the zoo’s Giraffe Cam beginning tomorrow.