Hey, guys. This is Zarafa. In 1824, in an effort to bribe France to stop aiding his enemies in the Greek War of Independence, Muhammad Ali Pasha of Egypt decided to bribe France with a giraffe.
Zarafa was captured as a baby giraffe in the Sudan the following year, carried on the back of a camel to Khartoum and put on a boat down the Nile to Alexandria. She was accompanied by two Arab handlers, Hassan and Atir, and three Egyptian cows that provided her with daily milk. From there she sailed 32 days to Marseilles on a boat with a whole cut in the deck so she could look out of the cargo hold.
Once she was in Marseilles it was decided the safest way to Paris was on foot. French naturalist Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire outfitted Zarafa in a special jacket to keep her warm and shoes for her feet before they set off on the 41-day trek to Paris with Hassan and Atir and her three cows. Passing through the city of Lyon, a crowd of 30,000 people applauded her.
After arriving in Paris, Zarafa was a celebrity. She inspired hairdos, spotted fashions, giraffe tchotchkes, stories, paintings and she was visited by 100,000 people. She lived in Paris for 18 years, until she died with Atir still faithfully by her side.
Isn’t that nice?