Order even-toad ungulates (Artiodactyla), suborder ruminants (Ruminantia),  and giraffes (Giraffidae)

The division of the bovidae into groups or subfamilies depends on authors. The one we have chosen is quite clear and easy to follow.

 

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Family antelopes, sheep, goats, cattle (Bovidae)

Buffaloes (Syncerus caffer) have to be considered as some of the most dangerous animals in Africa. Especially the old bulls building bachelor groups tend to attack fast. Buffaloes like to lie and role themselves in mud. It helps to cool their big bodies and to protect them from external parasites like ticks. Buffalos are dependant on water for drinking as well. They move in large mixed herds within their home ranges. Herds consisting of several hundreds animals can be found. Bulls fight for the right to mate with cows on heat.

 

 

 

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Buffaloes are widespread over Africa. Very large herds roam the Masai Mara and Meru National park with up to 600 individuals. Bulls weigh between 425 and 870 kg, cows about 570 kg. They vary in seize locally. Very impressive bulls can be seen in Nakuru National park. Calves are born in the middle of the herd which provides protection against predators.

 

 

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Family Giraffes / Giraffidae

3 of the 7 subspecies in Africa exist in Kenya, 1 in Tanzania - new research says that they are 4 full species. As giraffes were seen the first time by white people they thought they are a mixture between camels and leopards so they gave them the scientific name camelopardalis.

The Masai giraffes (Giraffa (camelopardalis) tippelskirchi) have the most irregular pattern among the various giraffes. Each individual has its characteristic pattern. Bulls get darker by aging and reach a height of up to  5.2 m. They have the biggest eyes and can detect predators  from far. Since the eyes are placed on the side only a small area is covered by both eyes and therefore they mainly see movements rather than they recognise standing objects. 

Giraffes only feed for a short while at the same bush not to cause major damage to it. They roam in loose herds in home ranges always in search of food.

Giraffes remain standing to give birth and the fresh born stands up in a few minutes to look for the milk source. Young giraffes build kindergarten and wait for their mothers to come back from feeding.

They are found from Central Kenya to Tanzania.

 

 

 

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Giraffes often rest, but fall into deep sleep only for 7 minutes per day.

 

 

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The Reticulated giraffe (Giraffa (camelopardalis) reticulata) is the most northern subspecies of all 7 and most likely as well the most attractive one with its clear net pattern. As many other animals they move in and out of protected areas.

Giraffe bulls measure their strength. Fights are ritualized and serious injuries are rare. But still you can hear the powerful punches. Males get darker with age. The horns consist of bones and are in males bold on top.

 

 

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Giraffes are searching for water in the Ewaso Nyiro River in Samburu. This river provides water to the area. During droughts rangers dig wholes so they get access to underground water. This river can be dried up completly or a torrent destroying everything on its way as it happen in February 2010.

They have to bend their "knees" to drink which makes them very vulnerable. That is why they approach a watering place very carefully and observant. Inside the blood vessels are kind of valves to avoid blood to hit the brain causing damage when bending down.

Reticulated Giraffes are found in Meru Nationalpark and in the National Reserves Samburu, Buffalo Springs, Shaba, Lewa Conservancy as well as further North.

 

 

 

The Rothschild giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi) is the rarest subspecies. As giraffes were seen the first time by white people they thought they are a mixture between camels and leopards so they gave them the scientific name camelopardalis. Rothschild giraffes were released in Nakuru NP in 1977 where they started breeding successfully. Some of the offspring’s have already been transferred to private sanctuaries.

The white legs are typical in the Rothschild giraffes. With a head almost 5 m above the ground they can reach leaves inaccessible for other not climbing mammals. Giraffes with yellow-barked acacias. If giraffes are too many in numbers they can damage many trees since they like peeling off and eating the bark. Bulls might get very dark when growing older.

Rothschild giraffes are found in Kenya in Nakuru & Ruma National parks and in the Giraffe Centre. In 2011 some got released in Ruko Conservancy near Lake Baringo.

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