Letter to the Editor

Giraffe threats

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Offices of the Smithsonian magazine are located in Washington D.C. and many miles from Nebraska.

Recently while attending a board meeting of the Trenton Public Library I checked out the march 2017 copy of that publication.

Alex Shoumatoff’s Mystery on the Savanna caught my attention. He describes his historic trip to Uganda, Africa and the Akagera National Park.

He states that giraffes are not like other inhabitants of Rwanda’s National Akagara Park.

Unfortunately, Congolese poachers have been gunning down giraffes for their tails, which they use for marriage dowries.

Giraffe’s communicate with each other, but at frequencies too low to be heard by human ears.

Grazing areas frequented by giraffes have been reduced in size by oil drilling mining and road building. So the Uganda Wildlife Authority began trucking some of them from northeastern Uganda to Lake Mburo National Park, a distance of 280 miles.

Until recently experts considered all giraffes to be part of a species called Giraffa camelopardalis, which means fast-walking-camel-leopard. However, in 2016, researchers announced that there were four separate species of giraffes.

Northern giraffes are now considered to be one of the world’s most endangered large mammals.

Generally speaking, giraffes are stately, gentle, inquisitive creatures according to Alex Shoumatoff. He observed more than 800 of them in the Savanna in one week’s time.

They greatly outnumber the lions, leopards and hyenas who are dangerous predators.

Anti-poaching ranger units were established in 2013, but man remains the biggest threat and preditor to those wonderful gentle animals and inhabitants or the Savanna.

Helen Ruth Arnold,

Trenton, Neb.

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