Feeding a giraffe is now not a stretch in Mississippi. Zoo affords new animal encounter. – Magnolia State Stay

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One of many Hattiesburg Zoo’s newer members, Sue Ellen the giraffe, waited eagerly on the feeding platform Nov. 9 as visitors lined as much as deal with her with lettuce and carrots.

Sue Ellen, who’s about 18 to 23 years previous, lowered her practically six-foot-long neck so she was eye to eye with guests. The kids laughed and commented on the giraffe’s lengthy tongue as she used it to seize the items of meals they shared together with her.

Anybody who has ever needed to stand up shut and private with the tallest animal on the earth now has the prospect through Hattiesburg Zoo’s giraffe-feeding expertise.


Although a giraffe food plan consists largely of alfalfa hay and specifically formulated grain, the meals Sue Ellen receives on the feeding platform — lettuce, carrots and browse, together with oak, bamboo and candy gum — is a particular deal with.

“Carrots are her favourite. She’ll stand right here all day for you if in case you have sufficient carrots,” Hattiesburg Zoo giraffe keeper Rachel Grimm stated.

“It’s undoubtedly a deal with. It’s not an everyday food plan for them,” added Kristen Moore, Hattiesburg Zoo common curator.

Sue Ellen’s keepers stated though she’s going to settle for meals from nearly anybody, youngsters are her favourite guests.

Whereas Sue Ellen is completely happy to take treats from visitors’ arms, her daughter Alberta, or Bertie, because the keepers name her, is a little more standoffish.

Grimm defined that when the giraffes first arrived on the Hattiesburg Zoo from the Audubon Species Survivor Heart, they had been nervous and never used to being round lots of people. Sue Ellen ultimately grew to become comfy with taking meals from strangers.

“Giraffe are a nervous species to start with, and (Bertie) simply desires to take her personal time, and that’s okay. Simply ensuring she feels comfy sufficient to do it when she does,” Moore stated.

Whereas she might not take meals instantly from visitors, Bertie is thought to face behind Sue Ellen on the feeding platform, like a toddler behind its mom’s apron, and observe intently.

Grimm and Moore stated response to the feeding expertise, which started Nov. 2, has been optimistic. The giraffe feeding has been offered out nearly every single day.

The addition of the feeding platform was made doable by a donation from the Duhon household, who’re from Hattiesburg.

In Could, 10-year-old CeCi Duhon donated her award-winning, mixed-media portray “Giraffe” to the zoo to honor the arrival of Sue Ellen and Bertie.

“The Hattiesburg Zoo is such a treasure to our household, and we now have loved seeing it develop and flourish through the years, stated Justice Duhon. “We had been delighted they contacted us to accumulate Cecilia’s giraffe piece, and it’s been heartwarming to see the neighborhood’s assist of her and our zoo.”

After gifting her portray to zoo workers, CeCi was capable of feed browse to the giraffes throughout her go to.

“After we noticed the enjoyment it introduced CeCi to feed Sue Ellen, we knew that we needed each visitor to have the chance to make that reference to these majestic animals,” stated Jeremy Cumpton, director of conservation, schooling and wildlife on the Hattiesburg Zoo.

CeCi Duhon’s portray has been re-created on Hattiesburg Zoo T-shirts and postcards, and can be found for buy on the present store.

WANT TO FEED A GIRAFFE? HERE’S HOW

The giraffe-feeding expertise takes place every single day the zoo is open at 2 p.m. There are 15 tickets obtainable per day, which value $5. Everybody besides youngsters below age 2 is required to have a ticket to be on the feeding platform. Youngsters below 2 should be held always by an grownup. Tickets should be bought the identical day because the visitor feeding.

The zoo is open Tuesday by way of Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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