London city break is no tall order for 14ft reticulated giraffe Nuru

Dominic Lipinski/ZSL London Zoo/Cover Images

Seven-year-old reticulated giraffe Nuru is taking a city break at London Zoo as part of a European breeding programme.

The gentle 14ft tall giant cruised the 40 minutes from ZSL's conservation zoo in Whipsnade to her historic new London home in a one-of-a-kind giraffe transporter, complete with a retractable roof.

London Zoo giraffe keeper Gemma Metcalf said: "Nuru was born at ZSL's Whipsnade Zoo in 2016, and now that she's fully grown it's almost time for her to join her forever herd, elsewhere in Europe.

"But while those careful plans are being decided by the coordinator of the European breeding programme for reticulated giraffes, she'll be enjoying an extended break with females Maggie and Molly at London Zoo."

Nuru's new grade-II-listed home, opened in 1836, was so innovative when it was built that it is one of the oldest zoo buildings in the world still used for its original purpose. The designs for Decimus Burton's Giraffe House have since been shared across Europe, forming the foundation for other giraffe houses seen today.

Renovated in 2021, the expanded paddock includes an all-important sandy surface which is ideal for keeping giraffe hooves in tip-top condition.

Reticulated giraffes are increasingly threatened by habitat loss, hunting and human/wildlife conflict.

Nuru's move is part of ZSL's core work protecting species around the world, while scientists and conservationists from ZSL - the conservation charity behind London and Whipsnade Zoos - also work with local communities in Africa to build stronger, sustainable relationships between people and wildlife.