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Sophie the Giraffe: My Favourite Things


Sophie is one of the newest residents at Hunter Valley Zoo – she arrived late last year from Australia Zoo in Queensland.

Born in 2018, she is still quite young, considering giraffes can reach the age of 30 in captivity, but despite this she is a confident and calm natured animal.

Sophie was welcomed to the zoo in November, following an overnight journey in Hunter Valley Zoo’s specially designed giraffe trailer and has taken every part of her new life in her stride, developing a bond with her new keepers and new male companion Shingo.

Shingo joined her from Taronga Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo. Sophie is a very intelligent giraffe and eagerly participates in her training with her keepers, that is so long as there is a food reward in it for her.

In the future Sophie and her partner Shingo hope to be able to breed, bringing some gorgeous baby giraffes into the world, but for now the pair are happily settling into their new surroundings at Hunter Valley Zoo.


Carrot sticks would have to be a favourite snack of mine and I usually get to enjoy some of these when I’m being introduced to new people and things as I settle into my new home.


When it comes to my food, pellets would definitely be right up there with the carrot sticks. I usually get pellets as a reward for training sessions with my zookeepers or as an afternoon snack when I come into my barn for the night.


I’m a pretty spoilt giraffe, I know, but who could say no to a pedicure every day? Luckily for me I have a team who love to look after me, cleaning off the base of my feet each morning and checking for any damage they may need to be managed further.


So, if you haven’t already noticed, I’m a very food motivated giraffe! Acacia or Wattle trees are an absolute staple of my diet, being the same trees, that giraffe would be enjoying over in Africa. Luckily for me Australia has plenty of species of Acacia and I get multiple branches per day to devour.


Shingo is my new male companion here at Hunter Valley Zoo, and although he is a bit younger and shorter than I am, I love him to bits! He can be a bit shy at times but I’m always there beside him, helping to build his confidence. I can’t wait to start a family with this handsome man.

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