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Street lights are being recycled to help the Zoo's giraffes.

The old metal columns are being turned into feeding posts for the high-rise herd.

The columns have been donated to the Zoo – a registered charity – by Cartledge, May Gurney’s specialist street lighting business. The company made the donation after being approached by the Zoo’s Head of Maintenance & Construction, Adi Board: “I’d heard that Cartledge recycle old street light columns as a part of a renewal scheme, so I made contact and asked if we could have a few as the height was ideal for giraffes!”

The 8 poles - between 5 and 8 metres tall and ranging from 50 to 80 kilos - were due to be replaced because of their age. Richard Sapsford, Street Lighting Manager for Cartledge in Torbay, said: “Ordinarily, old columns are cut up and sent for recycling when they reach the end of their design life.

“But when Adi contacted us and explained what he was after, it seemed the ideal solution. This is one of the strangest requests I have ever received for an old street light and not the normal emergency we would normally have to deal with! As a major employer within the UK and new to the area, we are keen to support this charity in any capacity that we can, now and in the future.”

Senior Head Keeper of Mammals Matthew Webb said: “We have used wooden poles before, but they rot – and they get nibbled by the animals. We will place poles of different heights at different points around the paddock.”

The donation will also help one of the younger members of the family.

Matthew: “Tino was born in February this year and is now around 3.5 metres tall. The feeders in the paddock are over 5 metres high - he should be able to reach them in around 6 to 8 months. Up to now he has been on browse, dry feed and milk supplied by Riverford Organic Dairy, but he has just been weaned so he needs to be able to reach grown-up feed.”

Adi: “We’ve made a feed basket that you can lower to fill and then raise up to giraffe height. The cable to winch it is inside the column, where the electrics for the streetlight would normally go, so it is very neat and safe.”

Matthew: “It will stand us in good stead for other young giraffes, like Otilie, who was only born in September.”

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