Giraffes return to Edinburgh Zoo after 15 years

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media captionRonnie and Arrow arrived from Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire

Giraffes are back at Edinburgh Zoo after a 15 year absence.

Ronnie and Arrow arrived from Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire earlier on Tuesday after traveling overnight.

Conservationists said numbers of giraffes in the wild have declined by almost 30% in the past three decades due to poaching and habitat loss.

Edinburgh Zoo said it would help raise awareness of the species to visitors. The giraffe house officially opens to the public in mid-June.

image copyrightRZSS
image captionThe giraffe house officially opens to the public in mid-June

Jonathan Appleyard, hoofstock team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said: "It is incredible to welcome giraffes back to Edinburgh Zoo.

"Our brand-new giraffe house has been designed with high level walkways which means visitors will be able to meet these wonderful creatures face-to-face, giving them an amazing opportunity to connect with nature and be inspired to join us in protecting them from extinction."

Up to three more male giraffes will be arriving at Edinburgh Zoo in the coming weeks.

Eve Massie, spokeswoman for animal protection charity One Kind, said: ''One Kind believes there's no good reason to keep wild animals captive in zoos.

"It's generally not possible to provide good welfare standards for wild animals in a captive environment so we are not supportive of the giraffes and the new enclosure at Edinburgh Zoo.''

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