Also known scientifically as Giraffa Camelopardalis
The Kenyan giraffe is the tallest living animal with a long neck adapted to reach vegetation far above that is inaccessible to other herbivores except the elephant. There are eight sub-species of Giraffes in Africa.
Kenya has the rarest Rothschild Giraffe, the commonly seen Maasai Giraffe (G. c. tippelskirchi) of Southern Kenya and the Reticulated Giraffe (G. c. reticulata) of Northern Kenya. The giraffes have a unique walking gait moving both right legs forward then both left with a top speed of about 55km an hour. Unlike other wild animals, giraffes have good eyesight. Giraffe horns are actually knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes which protect the head from injury.
This animal was once thought to be a cross between a camel and a leopard owning to its height, spotted body and scientific name(Giraffa camelopardalis).
Giraffes inhabit mostly in the arid and dry-savanna zones south of the Sahara and therefore can be found wherever trees occur in Kenya. The big bulls can reach up to 19 feet a yard higher than their cows. They feed mainly on broad leafed deciduous foliage and on other evergreen species. Its menu includes Acacia and Combretum trees that are always available in most areas. This animal can feed on 134 kg of leaves per day and drinks water every 2 to 3 days. Since it feeds on green leaves it can leave with no water where its not available.
The Kenyan Giraffe can be commonly sighted even outside wildlife conservation areas. They are social, non-territorial with no coordinated herd movements or leadership. Males test their strength by swinging necks on each other to establish who is dominant.
Kenyan Giraffes reproduce throughout the year but usually peek during rainy seasons. A female can conceive at age four while the male starts mating at age seven. The cow takes 16 months between two pregnancies. The young animals are left together while their mothers graze within. They can survive weaning at two months since they already can start eating leaves.
Young giraffes are most likely to be preyed on by other predators since they can’t attack in return though they are never left alone. Bulls often use their horns to combat its competitors when mating and powerful kicks for its enemies.
The fiercest known enemy to adult Kenyan giraffe’s is man who usually kills it for wild meat and skin.
Giraffes can be found in all major national parks in Kenya.
About the author:
Paul Gitau is a Researcher and Reporter on Kenyan Tourism. For More Information on Tourism and Wildlife in Kenya,Please Visit His Site at xenopages.com Kenya’s Online Tourist Guide