The Giraffe – Giraffa camelopardalis
A lot has been written about giraffes in recent years – especially since it became known how endangered they are. Here in Namibia the concept of an endangered giraffe is still foreign since they are fairly common in northern Namibia. Unfortunately, this is not the case everywhere in Africa.
Being on the taller side myself, I have always been a big fan of the giraffe and their rather awkward walk and run. But don’t underestimate the tallest mammal on earth – when in full speed, they can reach up to 56km/hour. (That’s faster than I prefer to cycle!).
Weighing in between 700kg (female) and 1400kg (male) they can be seen as rather lopsided. When born, a calf weighs an average of 100g at birth. The giraffe has only one natural enemy; the lion, which it defends itself against with a rather deadly kick.
A naturally peaceful animal the giraffe forms loose family groups or graze alone. They are at their most vulnerable when drinking water and will always be very careful before going down on their knees to drink. When giraffes get tired, they can either sleep on their feet (head sometimes resting in a tree) or they can “sit” with their feet bend in underneath their bodies, neck upright.
Unfortunately, some of the eastern cultures, most notably the Chinese, have decided that the little horns of the giraffe has medicinal purposes and have been killing these gentle giants to the extent where they are now endangered.