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June 2012
Contents / home
Hornbills get taste of the wild
International Year of the Rhino
DIY: Build a bat box
Holiday courses
Biodiversity Youth Symposium
Community produce animal food
Debunking myths around owls
Air Force knee deep in mud!
NZG display draws crowds
Solving wildebeest dilemma
Tick-borne disease mystery
Inspiring aspirant vets
ZooClub in scientific mode
Science going places
Talkin' about takins
Conservation Grapevine

South African Air Force knee deep in the mud!

The NZG is home to two giraffe - Bangkok, originally from the Johannesburg Zoo and Bontle, received from the Thabamanzi Wildlife Service in Limpopo.

The giraffe enclosure also houses two Leopard tortoises, a Common duiker, four Chinese geese, Tilapia fish and Smallmouth yellowfish. Other animals utilising the enclosure are free-ranging Egyptian and Spur-winged geese. During the breeding season the Egyptian geese often adopt the goslings of the Chinese geese and raise them as their own.

The design of the enclosure gives the impression that the giraffe can leave their enclosure whenever they want to, but the moat (a wide water-filled ditch) effectively keeps them in. The two giraffes are known to avoid even shallow water, which prevents them from crossing the moat. This is not the case in the wild - in Botswana giraffes are adapted to crossing water systems without any hesitation as they live in a wetland environment.

The giraffe enclosure accommodates several animal and bird species.   South African Air force personnel hard at work cleaning the moat.

Enter the volunteers

Every year the giraffe moat gets cleaned by the NZG staff, but this time round the South African Air Force volunteered to clean the moat as part of their community service programme. It took twenty Air Force staff members working four hours a day to complete the task in six days. It was a hard job to remove all the sludge using shovels and buckets. It takes a dedicated and disciplined person to do this kind of hard and dirty work that does not come with any incentives.

The sparkling clean moat has been restocked with fish.   503 Squadron in their normal attire. From left: CPL Bopape; CPL Mokoena; W02 Ndabankulu; V/ser McLain; CPL Lee, CPL Nhlapho, MAJ Moukoe (0C S03) SGT Rabuthu; CPL Phele; CAPT Sihlangu, SGT Sengula; CAPT Bezuidenhout and V/SERS Armoed.

Today the giraffe moat is clean and restocked with fish thanks to the dedication of the South African Air Force personnel under the leadership of Charles Mokoena. Thank you for a job well done!

By Carol Thobela-Mabaso, Jacob Moeng, Graeme Ogilvie, Eddie Siphuma and Phuti Maffodi, Conservation and Collections Department, NZG

Zoo and Aquarium Visitor