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NAIROBI PARK DIARY

The gentle giants

They are gentle most of the time

In Summary

• One well-timed and accurate kick from a giraffe is enough to kill a lion

Athi basin giraffe herd
Athi basin giraffe herd
Image: GARETH JONES

Looking down from the wall of the Athi dam, we watched as a large herd of giraffe lined up to drink out of a stream just below the dam. They seemed to prefer fresh running water or fresh rainwater. It is quite a difficult and awkward action for a giraffe to bend down and drink.

Giraffe continue to amaze me. Their incredible height is very impressive, especially when parking near a large male. Most of the time, giraffe are truly gentle giants. However, there are times when they can be very aggressive to fight and defend.

Males, in particular, are known to have brutal fights that can last hours as they use their longs necks and horny tufts to strike each other with tremendous sledgehammer-like force.

Even females can be almost fearless when defending their young calf from hunting lions. Just one well-timed and accurate kick from a giraffe is enough to kill a lion. But as I already mentioned, they are gentle most of the time. It is a precious sight to witness a mother loving and feeding her calf.

The Maasai giraffe are found in the Nairobi Park. I believe there could be about 200 or more in the park currently. The Swahili name for a giraffe is “twiga”, maybe because they eat twigs? Recently, giraffe were added to the list of threatened species, with some subspecies even being listed as critically endangered.

 

Sometimes the Nairobi Maasai giraffe seem to have all the time in the world, just standing still, and often blocking the road for some time, therefore causing a “Jerrijam”.

However, this type of jam is still much better than the city “traffic jam”. Giraffe are truly amazingly and incredibly designed. Take time to visit the Nairobi National Park and appreciate the wonders of creation, including watching the gentle giants!

For information on the park link to the following website  www.kws.go.ke