Inkosi, the giraffe, is having a ball crossing the Nullarbor, en route from Perth Zoo to Monarto Safari Park

While most eyes have on Tuesday turned to Flemington for the 3,200-metre race that stops the nation, a quadruped of a different kind is on a cross-country trek over a considerably longer distance.

After leaving Perth Zoo on Monday, three-year-old giraffe Inkosi has now moved into South Australia, en route to Monarto Safari Park east of Adelaide, where he will play a lead role in the park’s breeding program.

Accompanied by two zookeepers and a vet, the 800-kilogram, 4-metre creature is expected to stand tall for about 38 hours non-stop in a box on the back of a truck.

While the Nullarbor Plain doesn’t boast the most-populated stretch of road in regional Australia, some passers-by might find themselves craning their necks to catch a glimpse of the gentle giant as he makes his way along the Eyre Highway.

“There is an opening at the back where he can stare out, so our keepers and vets are travelling behind, watching his every movement,” Perth Zoo’s manager of zoology, John Lemon, told ABC Radio Perth this morning.

“He’s gazing around. Everything’s quite new and he’s quite intrigued by all the moving bits and pieces as you travel through all the small outback towns along the highway.”

Mr Lemon said the trek was only made possible by “months and months of conditioning” to ensure Inkosi’s stamina was a match for his stature.

“He’s nice and comfortable being in the crate. It’s all lined with marine carpet and we have equestrian rubber and jarrah sawdust on the floor,” he said.

Inkosi — which means “king” or “chief” in Zulu — has been jocularly described by West Australian authorities as an “eligible bachelor”.

“We wish Inkosi well, and hope he lives up to his name by reigning over his own herd at his new home,” West Australian Environment Minister Reece Whitby said.

Mr Lemon said the number of giraffes in the wild had dwindled by more than 40 per cent in recent decades, and Inkosi would play a part in arresting that decline after his arrival at Monarto.

“He’ll be their new man on the block, and he’ll have all the breeding opportunities he can have over there to try [to] bolster the giraffe numbers here in Australasia.”

Inkosi follows in the footsteps of female giraffe Asali, who completed the same crossing in 2015.