Photo courtesy of Zoo New England
Franklin Park Zoo lost its Sox today.
The zoo sent the Boston-born, 12-foot giraffe to the Pittsburgh Zoo in a match-making effort to help populate the relatively rare sub-species.
“They had an appropriate animal to pair her with … and we were able to accommodate them with the appropriate lineage and genetics,” said John Linehan, president and CEO of Zoo New England. “We’re all working together for the conservation of the animals.”
Sox, so named because she was born during the 2007 World Series, rode today in a “very tall trailer” to Pittsburgh after two years at Franklin Park, Linehan said.
“The loading went remarkably smoothly. You always get nervous shipping animals, but especially giraffes,” he said. “With those long legs, we worry about breaking an appendage. But she went on like a dream.”
The 1,200-pound 2-year-old leaves three fellow giraffes at Franklin Park: her parents, Beau and Jana, and little brother, Hamisi, born July 23.
Beau and Jana, considered two of the most “genetically important” Masai giraffes, due to their rare genes, have had three offspring at Franklin Park, a feat zoo staff calls an “incredible accomplishment.” Beau has Giraffe Wasting Syndrome, an incurable disease that saps the animal’s energy. At 11, he has survived longer than any other giraffe with the disease, zoo officials said.
The couple’s first calf, a female named Autumn, was moved to a South Carolina zoo in 2007 through the same species-survival program that led to Sox’s departure. Hamisi may eventually leave through the same program, Linehan said.
“Hopefully we’ll be heading down that path soon enough” with Hamisi, he said. “That’d be the appropriate thing to do.”
The same program will send one of the zoo’s three tapirs, an endangered relative of the rhinoceros with an anteater-like snout, to Baton Rouge Zoo in two weeks.
But as animals depart, a piece of Boston always remains in their heart, Linehan said.
“She’s not only a Red Sox fan, but I don’t think she cares for the [Pittsburgh] Pirates at all,” he said.
On the beat
Columnist Shirley Leung says Boston mayor-elect Martin J. Walsh should focus on middle-class housing. Read more