3 August 2020

Birthday weekend at the Zoo for Hummer the giraffe and Mbali the meerkat

| Dominic Giannini
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Hummer the giraffe

Hummer the giraffe enjoys his birthday ‘cake’ at the National Zoo & Aquarium over the weekend. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Two months after reopening, the National Zoo and Aquarium is celebrating again, this time the 19th birthday of Hummer the giraffe.

But the ‘cake’ didn’t quite get to make the rounds. Hummer, now in his twilight years, helped himself to the box of carrots, lettuce and celery.

SEE ALSO Thousands back to the National Zoo over the long-weekend

“He just likes the treats he gets from it, that is the biggest thing for him,” senior wildlife keeper Katie Ness said.

Animal lovers also got in on the fun, posting selfies and photos from their time with Hummer over the years on the Zoo’s Facebook page as dozens of Canberrans wished the excited giraffe a happy birthday!

Katie Ness feeds Hummer the giraffe

National Zoo senior wildlife keeper Katie Ness feeds Hummer the giraffe on his 19th birthday. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Hummer arrived in the ACT from South Australia about a decade ago, and his personality quickly made an impact among zookeepers.

“The same way pets or people have very different personalities, these guys are like that,” said Katie, who’s been looking after Hummer for the past eight years.

RELATED: National Zoo welcomes its newest baby giraffe

“Hummer is quite strong-headed and can have a bit of an attitude with people when he wants to.”

He is also quite big for a giraffe, standing at about 5.5 metres tall.

“Just recently a giraffe in Queensland got the Guinness Book of World Records, he was 5.7 metres, so Hummer is just shy on what he is,” Katie said.

Hummer the giraffe, and the younger Skye (background), celebrated his 19th birthday over the weekend. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Giraffes are born at around six feet tall and reach their full height around the age of three or four. Their captive lifespan is around 20 to 25 years old.

While we won’t see Hummer around Thoroughbred Park anytime soon, he did share his birthday with every horse in the Southern hemisphere on 1 August.

Hummer the giraffe enjoys his birthday ‘cake’ at the National Zoo over the weekend. Photo: Dominic Giannini.

Two days later, the Zoo was in party mode again, this time for Mbali the meerkat, who had her birthday on Monday (3 August).

For visiting hours and prices, visit The National Zoo & Aquarium.

Supermum Mbali the meerkat celebrated her birthday on Monday, 3 August. Photo: National Zoo and Aquarium.

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