Every year, from the 1st of January to the 31st of March, we carry out an environmental competition. This competition seeks to engage the Kenyan student in understanding our environment according to the theme of the year. This year, the theme was, “Our Earth, Our Home, Time to Act”.
Congratulations to those that emerged as this year’s competition winners.
Please click the link below for the results.
Every animal on the planet has its weak moments, even those that are considered the strongest of them all. In the Mara, down at the Mara river, during the primary school winners safari 2017, one of the students got to ask,” in the river, between the hippopotamus and the Crocodile, who is the stronger one?” I was very surprised when the security personnel cum tour guide said it was the Hippopotamus. With those razor sharp teeth, how come the crocodiles have it very hard to shred the tender skinned hippopotamus?! That was news to me that need investigation. By the way, did you know that the hippos kill more human beings than any other wild animal? those guys are very vicious yet calm if you mind your own business.
For giraffes, as tall as they are, they have points in their lives when they are completely defenseless. I know you know that one kick from an adult Giraffe can kill an adult Lion. The lion too knows this. That’s why they only attack the young ones only. The way of the jungle is not easy.
One of our giraffes had such a grueling experience with a lion. One of the lions from the park had escaped and came over to our premises. Now easy there, our rangers are good, they took care of her, our premise is always safe. On this fateful day, Salma, the giraffe had just been born, a month or so old. She was born to the oldest Mom around, Betty, 18 years old. The lion was able to find Salma in her hiding. It was war between the lion and Betty because, Salma was almost suffocating since the lioness had dug her teeth in her neck.
Since then, Salma is always aggressive. With her, you do not try the “Kiss” feeding. She might headbutt you. Till now, she has the marks on her neck to prove.
Have you ever wondered how the Giraffes communicate? I mean, they are tall and they make with no sound at least that can be heard with a human ear. One has to ask, how do they communicate when one senses danger.
One case, here at the Giraffe Centre, Kelly had given birth to Margaret. Now, that is awesome news, why? because the number of the Rothschild Giraffes and Giraffes in general has added another one.. So with such an amazing event, one gets the feeling of “I have to see the new born.” Whenever a Giraffe gives birth, she hides the new born from even us. This is because the young one is most vulnerable to predators. With Kelly, she hide her calf deep in our sanctuary unlike the others because she had some really bad experience before she came to Giraffe Centre (Story for another day).
So in our quest to find the young one, we did not know that we were very close to Margaret (The calf). Kelly was far away from her, she came running. You have no idea how the sight of an angry Giraffe is in itself “1000 ways to die”
To make up for their lack of audible voice, they have very sharp eyes that can see very far, approximately 5km away. With their height, they get a good aerial view of their vicinity. So, they don’t need voice to know that one of theirs is in trouble.
To communicate between themselves, they have white ears. remember the smoke signal times? Well, with their sharp eyes and white colored ears, they can make a whole “conversation” among themselves and be very comfortable.
Now you know why their ears are white.
Remember, our enviromental competition is ongoing, please get your copy of the poster by clicking here
“Till death do us part”, is a promise that seem to be a tall order as years go by if statistics are anything to go by. The amount of sacrifice that is needed to keep the promise seems hard as life goes by.
Not for the Dik-Diks though. These small antelopes, not the smallest though, have a very simple yet interesting way of life and interaction with their family.
Normally, antelope family walk in large groups. Majorly for protection, even though the female to male ratio is a little big. The stronger the male, the more the females. The way of the wild is more of conquest between males. Most animals in the have to mark their territory in some way, before that, they have to fight for that territory. For the Dik-diks, however, the way of the wild is love as opposed to conquest, encouragement over battle and explore over war.
Their gestation period is 169-174 days which is roughly 6 months. Mark you, an adult Dik-dik is the height of 16 inches at most with the weight of 15 pounds at most. Which makes them probably smaller than a dog. No, don’t take them for pets though, they are a rare breed. Much respect to them
Remember, the way of Dik-diks is encouragement over battle? Most wild animals chase away their young ones once they become adults as they are seen as competition for territory. Even here at Giraffe Center, Eddie is already having trouble with Jock (VI) (Betty’s Male Calf) and Olerai (Kelly’s Male Calf) yet they are not yet Adults. For Dik-diks, once they are adults, which is 7 months after birth, the Male Dik-Dik “sends away” the “Adult” Dik-dik out of their territory to go start a new home.
Dik-diks stay as couples. They stay together till death do part them. The male dik-dik send away the male young one as also the female dik dik sends away the female young one.
As to the remaining pair, they stay together, have other young ones. If by bad luck, one of them dies due to any circumstance, the remaining one becomes suicidal. The remaining one can even surrender to a predator due to loneliness. Crazy I know.
They use their tears and to mark their territory. Urine and feces work too.
For some reason, some people use their skin to make gloves, hence their biggest threat are humans.
Well, what if we just leave them alone, they would be walking around Lake Nakuru National park giving us great examples of being in love. But no, we had to make gloves out of them, shame on us. Did you know that one Dik-dik can only make one pair of gloves. Think about it.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page, so it’s said. One never knows the beauty of their own country unless they look. Unfortunately, some of us do not have the privilege to go travel and explore beyond our homes. We can help with that. One of our major focus as Giraffe Centre is to change mindset. Till recently, a majority of us Kenyans saw touring our own country to be a leisure only for foreigners. I mean, “It’s my country, why go visit when it’s here with me?”. This kind of mindset makes one not to appreciate and have concern to care for environment and all that is in it.
That’s where we come in. We carry out an annual competition where we engage Kenyan schools, Nursery to tertiary, in a competition that is about the environment. Each level has its own set of questions. Over 5000 Kenya based students participate either by:
- Making an artwork
- Or an essay
- Or a drawing
The winners get to go for a Safari at the end of the year. They visit various conservancies & parks which are heavy with information about the environment and conservation activities.
Next year, 2018, we will have the same competition. If you are a parent, make sure that your child participates. He or She will love the experience.
To view some of the photos from the Safari click here.
More in-depth information to follow.
Cheers, Merry Christmas and a Happy 2018.
Feeding a giraffe can be a daunting thing… What do you do? What will the giraffe do? But, it is also an exciting experience! What a graceful and beautiful animal…and you have an opportunity to get up close and personal with it. For some, it gets pretty close, personal and intimate (#IKissedAGiraffe).
Whether you’d like to keep it purely professional or get cosy, here are some recommendations on how to feed the giraffe.
- Feed the giraffe one pellet at a time on its tongue, using your thumb and index finger to hold the pellet.
- Do not feed the giraffe with an open hand and do not stretch out your palm with pellets on it.
- Do not tease the giraffe, feed it when you have the pellets in your hands.
- Do not approach the giraffes without the pellets as they tend to headbutt.
- Do not feed the giraffe on any other thing other than the pellets or foliage provided by our Education Officers or Guides.
- Do not make any loud noises or sudden movements while feeding the giraffes.
- Kindly note that the Giraffe Centre is a No Smoking Zone.
- Kindly allow our guides to assist you whenever in doubt.