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New feature: Animal of the Week with Wellington Zoo

As part of The Wellington App’s Summer Edition, we are working with Wellington Zoo to showcase some of the amazing animals you and your family can visit while the weather is good! Every Wednesday and Friday during January we will feature a new animal with some general information about the species, but also a bit of “behind the scenes” information from their keepers. If you enjoy this content, please let us know by contacting – We need your input to make sure that we are bringing Wellingtonians what Wellingtonians want!

Zahara and Zuri – Wellington’s tallest aunt and niece duo

Zahara and Zuri at Wellington Zoo. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Wellington Zoo is home to two Giraffes. These impressive mammals spend up to 20 hours a day feeding to support their gigantic size. They use their long tongues and even longer necks to reach food which other African herbivores cannot. Two way valves in their veins prevent blood from rushing to their head when they bend down. They make a great animal to go and see at the Zoo because they are almost always awake and active – Giraffe’s sleep the least of any mammal, needing only 10 minutes to 2 hours of sleep a day!

The way to tell Giraffes apart is through their unique spot pattern. If you want to have a go at identifying who is who at Wellington Zoo, look for a butterfly shaped spot on Zahara’s neck.

Zahara the giraffe. Photo: Wellington Zoo

Zuri, Wellington’s other giraffe has paler spots than Zahara. Once you have figured out which giraffe is which you will notice that they each have very distinct personalities.

Zuri the younger of the two giraffes. Photo: Wellington Zoo

Zuri is the youngest of the pair and can be shy, but she is also adventurous, exploring the habitat and playing in the water. If you visit the giraffes at feeding time, you’ll notice that Zuri’s favourite foods are fennel, bananas, and carrots. Zahara, who weights almost 1000kgs, was born at Wellington Zoo and is the heaviest animal at the Zoo. She is a very inquisitive animal and loves taking part in training sessions with her keepers.

Unfortunately, Giraffes are classed as vulnerable by the IUCN and have seen a massive drop in their population over the last 30 years due to things like mass deforestation and illegal hunting. If you want to help protect their wilds homes, you should look for sustainable timber and paper products marked with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) logo.

Feeding the giraffes at the Wellington Zoo Close Encounter. Photo: Wellington Zoo

If you want to get up close and personal with these majestic creatures, follow this link to book a Close Encounter! You can feel extra good about an amazing experience, because 10% of the proceeds from every ticket go towards saving animals in the wild through the Wellington Zoo Conservation Fund.

-The Wellington App