A new encounter programme at London Zoo is introducing giraffes to their feet in an effort to break down barriers.

“They share the same space but live in two different worlds,” said controversial head of inclusivity Jeremy Neesen. “It’s very hierarchical.”

The brain of the elongated herbivore may be 5.5m away from its hooves offering “plenty of room for misunderstanding”.

One stretch-necked member of the programme said, “I thought we would have nothing in common, but it turns out we both like the leaves and twigs of acacia and mimosa trees, and the 80s crime show Sapphire and Steel.”

Social scientist Neeson is hoping to restore his professional reputation with this latest “Touch Your Toes, Let Your Toes Touch You” initiative. His previous study, “Be Yourself” – which tackled esteem issues among camouflaged animals – was condemned by the World Wildlife Fund after it led to a massive rise in jungle predation.