Thursday, March 29, 2012

Giraffes in Kenya

Now that our daughter Karen has had time to select from the mass of photos taken during our 3-week trip to Kenya in late November and early December I can share some with you.  These are all of giraffes, and feature the three species found in various parts of the country.

First up, the beautiful Reticulated giraffe (my favourite), found only in the north-eastern part of the country. These ones were photographed on Borana, where the cover picture of my entire website was taken a few years ago.

This series from Borana showing an animal getting to its feet was not taken by me, but either by Karen or her husband Robert.

Might as well have a feed now that I'm up

We had three cameras on the go the whole time and the other photos below are more difficult to assign.

We saw this bull seeming to take shade under a big thorn tree in Nakuru National Park

He is a Rothschild’s giraffe. How can you tell? There are two features. First, the Rothschild is the only one in Kenya that has no varied marking below the hock or carpus (aka, and mistakenly, known as the front knee). Second and only present in the bull, there are five horns.  The three in front, two larger and either side of the ears, and one knobby one dead centre. The other two can only be seen from the rear, and are smaller that the side ones. Take a look and you will see them. 


These Rothschild’s were also in Nakuru NP, and two of the bulls were competing in the necking ritual. Quite a contest.

Rothschild’s giraffes were once restricted to the extreme west of Kenya and the last remnant population was translocated to Nakuru about 30 years ago from Solai, not far from Kitale and the Uganda border. There are Rothschild’s in Uganda, most abundant in Murchison Falls NP.


Then we saw Maasai giraffe in the Maasai Mara where we spent two delightful nights at the Porini  camp of Gamewatchers. (Porini is a Swahili word mean “in the bush”, “in the wilderness” etc).

I love the way this fellow's mane falred as he ran to catch up with is herd-mates

I had saved an extra giraffe treat for the family on our last day. We went to the Giraffe sanctuary near Nairobi and there saw a few Rothschild’s giraffes that had been there since 1979. You can see more about them at their website here. Some of the giraffe are so tame that they will take food out of the mouths of willing tourists - Karen included.

However, the guide warned us that if you stand too close, and have no food to offer, the impatient would-be feeder might well bludgeon you.


Amy said...

Jerry, fabulous shots! Loved the giraffes we saw in Namibia a few years ago, driving along, turning a corner, and there they'd be -- munching down the juiciest leaves on the tops of the trees! Truly amazing creatures! And such long eye-lashes, we should all be so lucky, and they don't even use mascara!!

Diane said...

Fantastic photos and it is good to see the 3 kinds together with explanations of the difference. I have to agree with you the Reticulated giraffe is stunning. Keep well Diane