This pest risk assessment was developed in accordance with Policy and Procedures for the Import, Movement and Keeping of Vertebrate Wildlife in Tasmania (DPIPWE 2011). These set out conditions and restrictions for importation of controlled animals pursuant to S32 of the Nature Conservation Act 2002. This document was prepared for DPIPWE use within the Department only.
Giraffe are a natural curiosity and have been widely represented in captivity around the world for centuries. In Australia, they have been present in zoos since the mid-1920s, and under the EPBC Act 1999 the species is permitted for live import to the country for such purpose. There is no formal risk assessment for G. camelopardalis in Australia.
As a key component of information to conduct a risk assessment for Tasmania, CLIMATCH modelling was applied to compare climatic conditions throughout Australia with Giraffes’ natural distribution in Africa over the last 1000 years. Results indicated environmental conditions would be least favourable for this species in Tasmania because of the state’s cool temperate climate. Giraffe have evolved to withstand extreme levels of heat and radiation in an arid environment which makes them especially vulnerable to hypothermia, and mass deaths occur after cold and damp weather episodes in the wild. It is highly unlikely escaped any animals that escaped in Tasmania could establish free living populations because they would be rapidly detected and removed or perish from environmental exposure. Based on their biology, behaviour and habits Giraffe are not envisaged to impact on native species, environmental assets or primary industries, damage property or infrastructure, nor represent a threat to humans.
Benefits of importing Giraffe to approved zoological facilities in Tasmania include tourism, education, awareness raising and participating in conservation opportunities for this vulnerable keystone species.