BALTIMORE, MD — The Maryland Zoo’s male reticulated giraffe, Caesar, made great strides while exploring his newly renovated habitat for the first time. The 12-year-old is the first of the herd of four to venture out of the barn into the expanded yard.
Extensive renovations to the lion, giraffe and elephant habitats began in March 2018. While the Giraffe House remains the same, the exterior giraffe habitat increased by more than 30 percent and was regraded to make the ground flat throughout.
“The process of introducing animals to a new exhibit is dependent on the species. Some animals are tolerant of change and others are much more cautious entering unknown spaces,” said Erin Cantwell, mammal collection and conservation manager. “Giraffe need a lot of time to evaluate their surroundings. Because construction is not finished, there is still a lot of activity around the new habitat so allowing Caesar to investigate and learn that there are no dangers has been important as he will be leading the rest of the herd out there soon.”
Caesar’s progress is a big step toward the upcoming completion of the Zoo’s new African Journey habitats, slated for this summer. Zoo staff plans to introduce 6-year-old Anuli to the outdoor spaces with Caesar in the next few weeks. Then, separately, they will introduce 8-year-old Kesi and 2-year-old Willow. Caesar will be outside, weather and construction permitting. Once construction is complete and the giraffe are acclimated to their new surroundings, the Giraffe Feeding Station will reopen to the public. Eventually, the giraffe will be able to cross over from their dedicated habitat into the new Upper Savanna habitat, providing exciting new viewing opportunities for guests and new experiences for the animals.