LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - The Ellen Trout Zoo has welcomed a new arrival from Norfolk, Va., a 10-foot tall giraffe named Kellen.
"We loaded the giraffe in Norfolk at about 11 a.m. on Wednesday and [he] was here this morning about 7," said zoo director Gordon Henley.
The total trip from the front gate of the Virginia Zoological Park to Ellen Trout is 1,275 miles.
Kellen was moved in a special trailer that is used to transport giraffes, but the handler said Kellen was a good passenger.
"He traveled well," Carl Sprouse said." [He] ate good, watered good and stayed calm."
Kellen is a one-year-old Maasai giraffe and was born exactly a year ago today in Virginia.
The zoo has been exhibiting giraffes since 1999. Kellen will be joining a young female named Kamili and an older female named Twigga.
"They will come into the barn to their normal stalls and they will be given a soft introduction," said Ellen Trout's lead veterinarian Mark Nantz. "They will see each other and look at each other and see how they enter act. We don't anticipate any problems. "
According to Henley, Kellen will stay off the exhibit for a short period of time while he has a physical and gets used to his new home. On first look, officials believe Kellen is around 10 ft.
"It will probably take a few weeks," Nantz said. " The first week is critical. We need to make sure he is adapting properly."
The zoo hopes to add Kellen to the mating schedule.
"We are also going to be in a breeding program for them and help increase and sustain the captive population," Henley said.