A Journey of Giraffes

Shamwari – Day two. *

On top of our monitoring duties, C** and me belong to volunteer group D, and on Thursdays our group is on duty to collect tools and cold and hot boxes for all the vans going out. So, shovels, picks etc for the bridge builders, and cameras and keen eyes for the elephant monitors.

IMG_0217Cindy takes us out again, into a different area this time, to look for more ellies to record. The game reserve has capacity for a certain number of elephants, so part of our job as volunteers is to identify and count the individuals, and their calves, so we can help Shamwari establish the total. It’s just amazing how much territory elephants cover. When you see them moving close up, they seem to be just dawdling, but at their pace, they can cover a lot of distance while not appearing to move at all.
We all pile into the trucks, and drive back into the main reserve.

OMG – what’s that???? Giraffe. Woo hoo – a whole journey of them moving sedately across our path, nibbling delicately at the top of the shrubs as they go.


Cindy pulls up and we have a short biology lesson. Giraffes have only 7 cervical vertebrae in their very very long necks, and the muscles must be phenomenally strong to manage to keep them upright.

When the boys fight, they use their necks like a lash – necking it’s called. Not what I used to do as a teenager….

South Africa
Necking Giraffe

They also have an incredible kick, and could easily break legs, but when the males fight for supremacy, they abide by Giraffes-bury rules: no kicking.
They have an wondrous gait – moving like camels rather than horses, and unlike most prey animals, they move towards danger, rather than run away. Their height gives them the advantage of being able to see long distances and size up the threat. I guess the canter is an energy-consuming effort, and they like to see if they really need to expend the effort.
cropped-20151115-img_9721-12.jpg

Footnotes: * Go to photodelmundo.net for more images
**C is a fellow photographer and animal nut
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