Lonely giraffe Benito embarks on a 40-hour road trip in search of warmer climates… and love | Good news

Benito travels in a box strapped to the back of a truck – and when he's 16m (52ft) high, the roof can be lowered to go under bridges.

By Connor Sephton, News Correspondent @Connor Sephton

Tue 23 Jan 2024 02:57, UK

A lonely giraffe has embarked on a 40-hour road trip to a new home – in search of warmer weather and a mate.

Jealousy forced Benito to leave the zoo Mexican Last year in Sinaloa state, he was transferred to a park near the US border with temperatures as low as 9C (48F).

Campaigners have been calling for the four-year-old to move to sunny climes – now, a specially designed container will transport him to a safari park some 90 miles (145 km) away.

Benito travels in a box strapped to the back of a truck – and when he's 16m (52ft) high, the roof can be lowered to go under bridges.

His head sticks to the top of the box, but a tarp is used to protect him from the cold, wind and rain.

Well-wishers chanted „We love you Benito” as he began his journey.

A local resident of Ciudad Juárez, where the giraffe stayed until recently, said: „We've been saying a little bit that he's leaving, but it makes us very happy… The weather just wasn't good for him.”

In the summer, Benito has little shade on his half-acre compound — with photos showing him crouching under a small canopy.

During the winter, ice sometimes forms on the enclosure's pond, and some trees can eat it.

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He was born in a zoo that was home to two other giraffes who were a pair – but could not stay there because zookeepers feared the male would become territorial and attack young Benito.

His new home includes three female giraffes, and Benito will live in a much larger space that more closely resembles his natural habitat.

“Benito is doing very well,” said Frank Carlos Camacho, who accompanied the giraffe on his long journey — and was rewarded with plenty of treats.

Hay, legumes, water and vegetables are inside his container – as well as technicians who can talk to Benito along the way.

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A convoy of police, environmental officials and the National Guard escorts him.

„He's ready to be a giraffe,” Mr Camacho said. „He will breed soon and contribute to the conservation of this wonderful species.”

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