By Titus Kakembo
Nature lovers are today celebrating our iconic long-necked friends the giraffes!
It is the annual World Giraffe Day June 21, is an exciting event initiated by GCF to celebrate the graceful and longest-necked animal in the world.
According to Uganda Wildlife Education Center (UWEC) executive director James Musinguzi “It is not only is it a worldwide celebration of these amazing and much-loved animals but an annual event to raise support, create awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffes face in the wild. “The lot that were translocated from Murchison Falls National Park to UWEC are heavy with babies.
“There are approximately 117,000 giraffes remaining in the wild. They were listed as Vulnerable to Extinction on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 2016,” stressed Musinguzi.
“This is while their numbers in Africa have plummeted by a staggering 30% over the last 30 years alone, and likely more than 90% in the last century.”
The ED Uganda Wildlife Authority Sam Mwandha says everything is in motion to salvage the Rothchild’s giraffes in Uganda.
“We carried out ambitious translocations of giraffes from Murchison Falls National Park to Kidepo Valley National Park (KVNP,) Pian Upe Game Reserve and UWEC,” says Mwandha.
“Those in KVNP have since reproduced and an assurance of a buffer stock when need be.”
According to UWEC PRO official Scovia Musimenta visitors are amused to feed the giraffes in the behind the scenes treat. “It is the closest you can get to this gentle giant,” says Musimenta.
“But they are warned that it has a kick which can cripple a lion. So, what humans take as a cuddle may be interpreted by the giraffe as a threat to its life. You risk a kick from the hind foot or feet.”
Out in their wild habitat giraffes gallop at a maximum of 60km/hour and feed on tree tops. “They only spread their feet in an inverted V to drink water,” says UWA PRO Gessa Simplicious.
“The best parks to see them include Mburo National Park, Murchison Falls National Park and Kidepo Valley National Park.
* Like finger prints in humans each giraffes have a different entire body pattern.
* Giraffe are predominantly browsers and mainly eat leaves and buds on tree tops in addition to shrubs. Their menu includes herbs, climbers and vines, flowers and fruits in season.
These vegetarians use the long tongue and the ridged roof of their mouth to feed on a variety of leaves and shoots – all dependent on the plants defenses