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Spotted! Giraffes return to Edinburgh Zoo after over 15 years

11/05/2021 in Edinburgh Zoo


A very tall package was received at the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s Edinburgh Zoo today (Tuesday 11 May) as two male giraffes arrived from Woburn Safari Park, Bedfordshire. 

The wildlife conservation charity has partnered with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky to bring giraffes back to the capital for the first time in over 15 years and support vital work to protect the species in the wild. 

Ronnie and Arrow will have some of the best views in the city from their brand-new hilltop home and will be gradually introduced to visitors over the coming weeks. 

Jonathan Appleyard, hoofstock team leader at Edinburgh Zoo, said, “It is incredible to welcome giraffes back to Edinburgh Zoo and we are so excited to start introducing them to our charity’s members, patrons and visitors after they have settled in. 

Numbers of giraffes in the wild have declined by almost 30% since the 1980s due to habitat loss and poaching, so this is a really important opportunity for us to raise awareness and support the Giraffe Conservation Foundation’s work to save the species. 

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. 

Three more male giraffes will be arriving at Edinburgh Zoo in the coming weeks and the newly-formed bachelor herd will need time to bond with each other and get used to their new home before the giraffe house officially opens to the public in mid-June. 

Jonathan Appleyard added, “As they are the tallest animals in the world, it is very likely visitors will be able to spot our giraffes exploring their outdoor areas before we officially open to the public. 

“We are so grateful to Glenmorangie and everyone who donated to help build our giraffe house and support our partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.” 

Julian Fennessy, co-director and co-founder of GCF, said, “There are only about 117,000 giraffe remaining in all of Africa. Their numbers have dropped by almost 30% in the last three decades. As this decline has happened largely unnoticed, it is now time that we draw more attention to this silent extinction. Zoos play an important role in sharing this message and the new giraffe herd at Edinburgh Zoo can play a vital role in raising awareness and funds for the plight of their wild cousins in Africa. 

Thomas Moradpour, President and Chief Executive of The Glenmorangie Company, said, “This majestic creature has long been a beloved symbol of our brand, thanks to our distillery’s giraffe-high stills, the tallest in Scotland. These amazing animals are under threat of a silent extinction, which is why we are proud to be official partners of giraffe conservation at Edinburgh Zoo, and to support the work of GCF in the wild.  Through this global partnership, we hope to raise awareness of the plight of the giraffe, and ensure these wonderful creatures remain part of our world for many centuries to come.”  

More information about visiting Edinburgh Zoo, the giraffes and how people can help care for the charity’s animals and support conservation work around the world is available at 




Hi-res images and video available here:  

Images are free to use but please credit RZSS and/or Woburn Safari Park. 

Notes to editors 

  • Ronnie and Arrow traveled overnight from Woburn Safari Park and arrived at Edinburgh Zoo around 9.00am on Tuesday 11 May 
  • The giraffes at Edinburgh Zoo will all be Nubian giraffes (also known as Rothschild) 
  • As part of the partnership with Glenmorangie Single Malt Scotch Whisky and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland’s RZSS WildGenes team will be supporting wild giraffe conservation by using genetics to help GCF understand the success of reintroductions across Uganda 

About the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland   

  • The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS) has protected threatened species in Scotland and around the world for over 100 years. At Edinburgh Zoo and Highland Wildlife Park, a wide range of teams care for almost 3,000 amazing animals and carry out cutting-edge science and research. The wildlife conservation charity’s aim is to connect people to nature and safeguard wildlife across the globe. 
  • For further information about RZSS conservation projects in Scotland and around the world, please visit 
  • RZSS Edinburgh Zoo and RZSS Highland Wildlife Park are members of the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums (BIAZA).  BIAZA represents its member collections and promotes the values of good zoos and aquariums. 

About the Giraffe Conservation Foundation 

GCF is the leading international charity dedicated to giraffe conservation and management in the wild. It works with governments, universities, local communities, national and international conservation organisations and many other bodies, to develop and implement conservation strategies to save giraffes in Africa. The charity, based in Namibia, was founded in 2009 by Julian and Stephanie Fennessy, a husband and wife team. For more information visit  

About Glenmorangie  

Glenmorangie’s whisky makers use endless imagination and five key ingredients – wood, water, barley, yeast, and time – to dream up delicious single malt whiskies. Known as the Distillers of Tain, they’ve been honing their craft for more than 175 years. In Scotland’s tallest stills, whose necks are as high as a giraffe, they produce a light and fruity spirit, ripe for experimentation. Led by Director of Whisky Creation Dr Bill Lumsden, this crackerjack crew are on a mission to bring new flavours and possibilities to the world of single malt. 

For further information, please contact 

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