A giraffe named Benito has embarked on a 2,000km (1,200 miles) journey from his home in Mexico’s arid north to a more temperate climate in the south. This move comes after a lengthy campaign by activists who argued that Benito was suffering in the extreme weather conditions of Ciudad Juárez, a border city.
Benito is being transported in a specially designed 5m-tall container. As he began his journey, some activists expressed their affection by shouting “we love you”. Prior to his departure, Benito, who is three years old, resided in Ciudad Juárez’s Parque Central zoo.
Activists had previously voiced concerns about the city’s desert climate, which can reach up to 42C (108F) in the summer and drop to freezing temperatures in the winter. They argued that such conditions were challenging for giraffes and that the zoo lacked the necessary facilities to care for these animals. Another giraffe at the zoo, Modesto, passed away in 2022.
The process of moving Benito started early on Monday morning when his travel container was loaded onto a truck. Over the weekend, Benito had been given time to get accustomed to the container. The container allows him to stick his head out but can also be covered with a tarp for protection against weather conditions and potentially distressing sights and sounds.
Benito’s journey to his new home, a safari park in Puebla state, is expected to last around 50 hours. Frank Carlos Camacho, the director of the safari park, stated that the container is equipped with cameras and sensors for monitoring Benito. It also contains sufficient alfalfa, fruits, vegetables, and water to keep him nourished during the trip.
In his new home at Puebla’s African Safari park, visitors will be able to observe Benito in a more natural environment from all-terrain vehicles. Activist Perla Iris Guzmán, a member of the “Let’s Save Benito” collective, expressed her gratitude to everyone who supported the campaign. She described the move as a victory for the entire Juárez community.