Tazama Matokeo Hapa
African Giraffe: They are the world’s tallest mammals. They are uniquely adapted to reach vegetation inaccessible to other herbivores. Unusually elastic blood vessels and uniquely adapted valves help offset the sudden buildup of blood (to prevent fainting) when giraffes’ heads are raised, lowered, or swung quickly.
Their “horns” are actually knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes that protect the head from injury. Their necks contain the same amount of vertebrae as we do (seven) except their bones are extremely elongated making their neck a long length of 2.4 meters.
The extraordinarily long neck of the giraffe is an evolutionary adaptation that enables it to compete with the many smaller herbivores of the crowded savanna ecosystem. Giraffes’ extreme height enables them to reach above their competitors and to selectively browse the best parts of the tallest trees.
They feed on the fruits, flowers, and fresh shoots of 40– 60 different tree species, including mimosa, commiphora (myrrh), and the spiny acacia. Giraffes are able to nip leaves from between the long thorns of acacia because their long muzzles, flexible lips, and long, dextrous, tongues can reach deep within clumps of tree branches and because their lips and tongue are protected from the thorns by thick, horny bumps called papillae.
An adult giraffe consumes up to 77 lbs (35 kg) of food each day, and to ensure access to a sufficient quantity and quality, roams widely. In lean times, giraffes eat dried leaves, twigs, and even tree spines. In common with other ruminants (see panel, left), they first chew and swallow their food, then regurgitate and rechew it several times prior to complete digestion. Uniquely, they are able to ruminate while walking, an adaptation which perfectly suits their nomadic lifestyle.
SCIENTIFIC CLASSIFICATION OF AFRICAN GIRAFFE.
|SIDE A||SIDE B|
|Gestation:||Between 13 and 15 Months|
|Habitat:||Dense Forest to Open Plains|
The Scientific name of African Giraffe is Giraffa Camelopardalis. It is traditionally considered to be one species, Giraffa camelopardalis, with nine subspecies.
However, the existence of up to nine extant giraffe species has been described, based upon research into the mitochondrial and nuclear DNA, as well as morphological measurements of Giraffa. Seven other species are extinct, prehistoric species known from fossils.
- MALES: 1,930 KILOGRAMS (4,254 POUNDS)
- FEMALES: 1,180 KILOGRAMS (2,601 POUNDS)
- 5.7 METERS TALL FROM THE GROUND TO THEIR HORNS (18.7 FEET)
- AVERAGE 10 TO 15 YEARS IN THE WILD; RECORDED A MAXIMUM OF 30 YEARS
- HUMANS, LIONS, LEOPARDS, HYENAS, CROCODILES.
Young male giraffes establish dominance among one another with neck-wrestling contests that can last up to 30 minutes. These look friendly, but occasionally a male’s neck may be broken. Giraffes live in loose social groups of up to 20 animals. Mature bulls roam among groups looking for females ready to mate. If challenged by another male, they fight by kicking and head butting.
The giraffe is the world’s tallest animal. It is taller than three tall men standing on each other’s heads!
Challenges Facing African Giraffe.
1. Giraffes are Quickly Losing their Living Spaces.
As human populations grow and increase agricultural activities, expand settlements, and construct roads, the giraffe is losing its beloved acacia trees, which are its main source of food.
The number of giraffes in the wild is shrinking as their habitats shrink. In the late 19th and 20th centuries herds of 20 to 30 animals were recorded, now on average herd sizes contain fewer than six individuals.
2. Humans Hunt Giraffes for their hides, meat, and body parts.
Giraffe tails are highly prized by many African cultures and are used in good-luck bracelets, fly whisks, and even thread for sewing or stringing beads.
The world’s tallest land animal has lost 40 percent of its population in just 30 years, and recent reports show poaching and wildlife trafficking are contributing to this decline.
Solutions to the Challenges.
Different solutions to saving the world’s tallest land animal from extinction:
Educate Local Communities in Conservation.
AWF Educate communities living near giraffes on the importance of sustainable practices for agricultural and settlement growth by providing training on sustainable and more productive agricultural practices and incentivizing conservation agriculture when appropriate.
Reforest Key Areas.
African Wildlife Foundation has reforested acacia trees in West Africa to provide more food for the giraffe and allow it to expand its habitat.
Behaviors of Giraffe in Africa.
Giraffes are Extremely picky eaters.
They feed 16 to 20 hours a day, but may only consume about 30 kilograms (about 30 pounds) of foliage during that time. These two-ton mammals can survive on as little as 7 kilograms (15 pounds) of foliage per day.
While these browsers’ diverse diets have been reported to contain up to 93 different plant species, acacia trees have been found to be their favorite food source.
Young Giraffes are self-sufficient but vulnerable.
Calves are about two meters tall and grow rapidly as much as two and a half centimeters a day. By two months, the calf will start eating leaves and at six months is fairly independent of its mother. A young giraffe can even survive early weaning at two or three months.
Although few predators attack adults, lions, hyenas, and leopards take their toll on the young. Scientist’s report that only one-quarter of infants survive to adulthood due to the high rates of predation.
That’s it for Today’s Post. Let me Know in the Comment Section Down Below. What is your Thought About African Giraffe, Also Known as Giraffa camelopardalis. Kwa Herini 🙋🏾♂️