Dallas Zoo relocates 3-year-old giraffe to Milwaukee zoo for breeding
A young male giraffe formerly at the Dallas Zoo has been relocated to the Milwaukee County Zoo, so that he can be used for breeding.
Kendi, a 3-1/2-year-old giraffe born in May 2020, was shipped to Milwaukee in late October. After a 30-day quarantine period that new animals are subjected to when they're moved from zoo to zoo, Kendi is now being trotted out for display.
Giraffes thrive in the heat. Their native land is the African savanna, where temperatures range from 70 degrees to the mid-80s. The current temperature in Milwaukee is 44 degrees.
Kendi joins a herd of giraffes with three females: Ziggy, 12 years old, Marlee, 11 years old, and Marlee's offspring Maya, 5 years old.
There is also Asante, an 8-month-old male whose birth was filmed by the zoo with spectators horrifically cat-calling like it was a sporting event; sadly, Asante will be transferred to another zoo in 2024, so he can be used to breed elsewhere.
In the wild, giraffes live in herds of mothers and their daughters, while bachelors live in separate herds. They stay as small family groups that remain stable for many years.
A study published in 2021 found an even more complex level in giraffe societies than had been previously realized. Relocating animals shatters the web of social relationships.
But zoos' entire business model is to move animals around for breeding, under a program they call their Species Survival Plan. They need baby animals because baby animals are what drive people to buy tickets.
In the wild, male giraffes can become sexually mature at 4 to 5 years, but don't start mating until they're 7. But in captivity, they start breeding them earlier, and the Milwaukee zoo is immediately trying to position Kendi as some sort of hormone-driven horndog:
"He’s already very alert and watchful with the female giraffes in the herd," they say. "He’s showing healthy male giraffe behaviors, like monitoring the females who are in estrus (the period when most female mammals are capable of conceiving), following them closely, and guarding them from the others."
How utterly creepy.
If it seems sad that Kendi is being moved around, the Dallas Zoo has also not been a safe space for giraffes in recent years, with three giraffe deaths in a row in 2021.