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Lonely Family of Giraffes Left Behind in Paris Zoo

A family of giraffes were left behind when a Paris zoo closed its gates for refurbishment five years ago but now finally other animals are returning ahead of the re-opening set for April 2014. 2013-12-24 05:48 PM EST Last Updated: 2013-12-24 05:52 PM EST
When Paris's Vincennes Zoo closed for refurbishment in November 2008, the entrances were boarded-up and the 130 resident species of animals were rehoused, all except the giraffes.
Keepers decided that the animals' size coupled with bonds between the family of 16 meant it would be impossible to find them temporary homes, so all alone they have rattled around in the zoo ever since.
But now the giant animals' isolation is set to come to an end as a steady trickle of birds and beasts -- including zebras and ostriches -- return to the park on the eastern fringes of the city ahead of its official re-opening slated for April 2014.
[Matthieu Villmain, Zookeeper]:
"The giraffes stayed in the zoo during the refurbishment because we had such a large, precious group with lots of individuals that if we had moved them we'd have split up the group and it would have been hard to get a group like that back, it would have taken a long time. So the real strong point for the re-opening will be having this big herd of giraffes already in the park."
Benny is the only adult male in the herd and also the only foreigner amongst them. He was born in the Netherlands with Villemain saying that the rest of the tribe were fully Parisian.
The newest arrival is a young female only 3.5 metres tall who was born in the summer of 2012.
According to the town's website, over 133 million euros before tax has been spent on the restoration of the 1934 zoo, set to re-open in the year of its 80th anniversary.

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