Brought to you by Newscorp Australia

Forest the Aussie giraffe breaks world height record

Adrianna Zappavigna, August 3, 2020 7:00PM

Print Article

Australia Zoo’s Irwin family with giraffe Forest and his world record certificate. Picture: Australia Zoo media_cameraAustralia Zoo’s Irwin family with giraffe Forest and his world record certificate. Picture: Australia Zoo


Reading level: green

A 12-year-old giraffe called Forest – who lives at Australia Zoo in Queensland – has been confirmed as the world’s tallest giraffe, standing at 5.7m.

Measuring Forest was a tall order* in itself, his keeper, Kat Hansen revealed.

“It took us a number of months to be able to do it,” she told ABC.

Staff had to create a specially marked measuring pole and rig* it close to a hay dispenser in the giraffe house, coaxing* the animal to stand up nice and straight with the promise of food – all while the cameras were rolling.

media_cameraTaking Forest’s measurement took some imagination. Picture: Australia Zoo

Adult males, called bulls, typically measure between 4.6 and 5.5m, with Forest standing around 20cm above the rest.

Giraffes are fully mature by the age of 3-6 years and usually live 10-15 years in the wild and 20-25 years in captivity.

Born at Auckland Zoo in New Zealand in 2007, Forest moved to his new home at the age of two.

The entire Australia Zoo family – headed by conservationists the Irwins – couldn’t be prouder of Forest’s achievement.

“Our big boy, ‘Forest’ has just made history being announced as the world’s tallest living giraffe! He is one beautiful gentle giant!” Robert Irwin excitedly told fans on Twitter.

Bindi Irwin – who holds her own Guinness World Record for the most followers for a TV naturalist on Instagram – could not be more proud that Forest has joined her as part of the Guinness World Records family.

“Our sweetheart Forest has officially made it into the Guinness World Records for being the tallest living giraffe! We are proud of our towering guy, he has such a wonderful heart.”

She added: “Giraffes are doing it tough in the wild, and we’re so proud that we can do our part in ensuring this species is around for the generations to come.”

media_cameraForest, the world’s tallest living giraffe, at 5.7m tall. Picture: Australia Zoo

Forest is an important part of the giraffe breeding program at Australia Zoo. He has fathered 12 calves over the past decade, with another on the way.

With Forest’s genes, who knows if one of his offspring could go on to claim the title from dad!

In the wild, giraffes (Giraffa camelopardlis) as a species are currently recognised as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), with pressure mounting for their status to be upgraded to endangered.

media_cameraForest at the front, with another giraffe in the Australia Zoo family at the back. Picture: Australia Zoo


  • tall order: something that’s hard to do
  • rig: set up equipment
  • coaxing: gently persuading someone to do something


Baby giraffe’s special new shoes

Move to add giraffes to endangered list

Great, great grandfather giraffe Mukulu has died

World record 19 dalmatian pups born in Australia

Rare orange monkey born at Australian zoo


  1. Which state does Forest live in?
  2. How tall is Forest?
  3. How did the keepers measure his height?
  4. What age do giraffes live to?
  5. How many giraffes has Forest fathered?


1. Imagine what it was like

Can you imagine what it was like to measure this giraffe? Imagine you were one of the zoo keepers recounting their experience of measuring Forest. Write a recount of what it was like measuring him. What went wrong? How did you manage to convince him to stand up tall while measuring him?

You can make the recount as comical as you like. Maybe you got him standing up tall and doing everything right but the person filming had forgotten to press record? Or maybe Forest was not feeling co-operative that day and wouldn’t stand next to the measuring pole.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Critical and Creative thinking

2. Extension
Design an enclosure in a zoo for Forest and some of his giraffe friends. Try to make the enclosure as close as possible to the giraffe’s natural habitat (you might need to do some research to help you). Think about the type of food, and water availability they normally have.

In your design include the dimensions of the fence, trees (type and height) the shelter areas (including the height of doorways and roof). Also include an area that zookeepers can check the health of the giraffes safely. It will need to be high enough so they can check their eyes and mouth safely.

Draw your design and label it with the details mentioned and any other details you feel are important.

Time: allow 30 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English, Science, The Arts – Visual Arts, Critical and Creative thinking

I Spy Nouns
Nouns are places, names (of people and objects), and time (months or days of the week).

How many nouns can you find in the article?

Can you sort them into places, names and time?

Pick 3 nouns and add an adjective (describing word) to the nouns.

HAVE YOUR SAY: What huge or tiny animal would you like to measure?
No one-word answers. Use full sentences to explain your thinking. No comments will be published until approved by editors.

Extra Reading in animals