Schoolchildren milling around and general visitors to the Indira Gandhi Zoological Park here had no inkling that Friday was a historical day for the zoo as the long-awaited pair of giraffes made their quiet entry.

The two animals would be open for viewing by the visitors mostly before the end of the month. Minister for Forests Satrucharla Vijayaramaraju would officially release them into the open, zoo curator G Ramalingam said. The Minister was likely to visit the city sometime next week, he added.

The tall creatures were shielded from public eye with a green netting screen that was tied up above the high wall truck that ferried them from the transit quarantine halt in Hyderabad.

The two – a one-year-and-nine-month-old male and a less-than-one-year-old female – reached the destination safe and sound. The male was around 11 feet high and the younger was a couple of feet shorter.

The female appeared to have a few scratches, zoo veterinary surgeon V Srinivas said.

The animals were accompanied from Malaysia and left at Hyderabad quarantine by two animal caretakers from the zoo. The two again accompanied the animals from Hyderabad, the curator said.

The animals had got used to human presence and were not disturbed were not disturbed by the commotion in unloading them from the vehicle and taking them to their enclosure.

The animals were transported in specially made rubber-lined carrying cages from Hyderabad.

The zoo employees carried the two animals with extreme caution and affection from the transport to their enclosure.

The arrival of giraffes marks the culmination of over two-year effort by the zoo authorities in chasing the donor zoo and various government departments for permission, the Curator added. The zoo created a special enclosure at the main entrance where a pair of black Rajhamsa and another pair of white ones were swimming. They would prove to be an attraction, he hoped.

Some more animals had been acquired from Israel and were at present in quarantine and they would also add to the attractions in the zoo, he added.

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