Wild Baby Giraffe
It was a bit of a shock when this beautiful boy fell to earth, it was quite a drop! At three weeks old he prefers to stay close to the ground, using the tall grass of his African savanna home to stay hidden from predators. He is entirely reliant on his mother who protects him by kicking away any predators and nursing him the milk he needs to keep growing big and strong. Soon, he will be the tallest animal in the world, but his amazing height won’t give back all the space he would have once been able to roam. All he can do is watch and hope that the humans will stop taking more.
As the tallest living animal in the world, the giraffe towers over the savannas of Africa. It’s good that they do because a group of giraffes is aptly named a tower! These groups usually are of 10-20 members who can come and go as they please. They move around, searching for mimosa and acacia trees where they get their food, spending only 20 minutes each day sleeping. The spotty pattern on their coat is unique to each animal, just like our fingerprints.
Giraffes give birth standing up, a bit of a heart-wrenching thought when you think how far the newborn baby will have to fall, a whopping 5 feet! These hardy babies are even more impressive in that they can stand after half an hour and even run 10 hours after they are born. The newborns are very vulnerable to predators and spend the first few weeks hiding. If a predator approaches, the mother will stand over her calf and kick the threat away with her long legs. Mothers and calves travel with other mothers and calves in nursing herds, keeping each other safe as a group. Occasionally a mother may want to leave to forage or drink away from the herd, leaving her baby in the care of another female, this is called a calving pool. If a threat appears the responsible female will alert her own calf, the other babies will catch on and follow.
It wasn’t until quite recently that it was discovered that giraffes can be separated into different species. In 2016 a study claimed that there are four; southern giraffe (which has two subspecies), northern giraffe (which has three subspecies), reticulated giraffe, and Masai giraffe. The study claimed that the species did not interbreed and had not for 1-2 million years.
As a whole, the giraffe is listed as vulnerable but the Masai and reticulated species are endangered. Their biggest threats are habitat loss and being killed for bushmeat. As agriculture moves into the savannas and the need for firewood increases in those areas, they lose their land and also their favourite acacia trees, making it harder for them to find food. Their tail is also used for good-luck bracelets, fly whisks and thread.
HOW TO HELP
Based off real animals that Gillie and Marc met while travelling, the public will be able to meet individual animals.
Through public art, more people will come into contact with these sculptures, will stop and consider them, will take a photograph, and will discuss this with their friends and family. With this increased exposure, the message of love, family, and conservation will be spread much further than any piece of art in a gallery ever could. It will bring people into close contact and will help them to fall in love, and with love comes a greater urge to want to create a change and save all endangered animals.
The sculpture will be aligned with the hashtags #LoveTheLast and #wildaboutbabies to raise unparalleled awareness about the sculpture’s cause across the globe.