Friday, July 31, 2009

Giraffe and goat form unlikely friendship when kept in same enclosure

They'll always have a very different outlook on life.

But even though Gerald the giraffe is rather lofty and Eddie the goat is more down to earth, they are the perfect pairing.

They have formed an unlikely bond after Eddie was placed with 15ft Gerald as a short-term solution to keep the giraffe company at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.
Three years on the pair are as close as ever. Keeper Sammi Luxa said: 'They hit it off straight away, and Eddie has proved to be a great companion for Gerald.

'They bonded from day one and you can always see them running around the enclosure chasing each other.

'They are a real hit with our visitors - outside of the zoo nobody has ever seen anything like this before. We just thought it was normal for a giraffe and a goat to get along so well.

'Although Gerald eats off a raised platform and Eddie grazes from the floor, they like to be close to each other when they eat.

'Gerald even lets Eddie get his nose in the trough first.
'They are always together and they really are best mates despite the obvious height difference.

'One of the zebras they live with called Zebedee can be a bit of a bully sometimes and often chases Eddie.

'But he soon turns tail when Gerald steps in a shoos him away - he is a very loyal giraffe to Eddie.'

Gerald arrived at the zoo as a two-year-old in 2006 and was expected to be quickly matched with a female.

But when the zoo found it difficult to find him a mate, they put Eddie in his enclosure to prevent him becoming lonely.
Ms Luxa told how the pair are often affectionate with each other, particularly during the Summer months.

She said: 'When it is warmer Gerald often bends down and licks Eddie on the head.

'Eddie then climbs onto Gerald's neck and gives him a cuddle.

'Whenever the public come and visit the animals, the pair always go to see them together.

'It would be good if we can get a female giraffe for Gerald but there can be a lot of red tape to get through.

'I think Eddie will be ok if Gerald gets a mate moved into the enclosure. He isn't really the jealous type, but you never know.'


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