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Giraffe En Feu Descriptive Essay

G raceful in their awkwardness — or perhaps awkward in their gracefulness — the typically quiet and seemingly gentle mammal known as the giraffe is the tallest living terrestrial animal in the world, reaching as much as 19 feet or 5.5 meters in height when fully grown as an adult.

I had the pleasure of photographing them during my safari in Kenya.

Giraffes: A Photographic Essay

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

This giraffe munches on the tasty leaves of a small acacia tree — which is plentiful in southern Kenya — as a favorite part of its herbivorous diet.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The neck of a giraffe can reach a length of almost eight feet, which is especially helpful in reaching the leaves of taller trees — as well as looking out for predators such as human beings, who prize the hide, meat and especially tails of these fascinating creatures.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The long necks are also used by male giraffes — also known as bulls — as weapons in combat and to establish dominance. The victors in what are known as neckingbouts — a primal activity which I did not witness, as it did not occur between two male giraffes during my safari — have greater success in terms of mating with a female giraffe. Giraffe bulls have also been known to butt heads. After their duel, it is common for two male giraffes to caress and court each other.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Notwithstanding the pattern of blotches on its coat, the face of a giraffe faintly reminds me of that of a camel.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I do believe that I have made a new friend.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

“Hey — what are you looking at?!?”

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The Masai giraffe — indigenous to southern Kenya where the Masai Mara National Reserve is located — is identified by the pattern of reddish-brown jagged irregular patches throughout its coat of short yet rough bristles of fur. The pattern on the fur of each giraffe is unique, as no two giraffes share the same pattern.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Strike a pose.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The giraffe is a rather unique animal, as there is no other animal quite like it in the world.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Two giraffes share a snack together.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Long, lanky legs allow the giraffe to run as fast as 35 miles per hour.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

A fully-grown giraffe can weigh up to approximately 2,800 pounds or 1,270 kilograms and live for an average of 25 years in the wild.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Sadly, the progress of civilization translates into fewer places where the giraffe can call home.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

A group of giraffes meander slowly — and seemingly aimlessly — into the distance. Groups of giraffes are generally six members or fewer.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

I have not heard any sounds uttered from the mouth of any giraffe while I was on safari; but I understand that giraffes do use a variety of sounds to communicate — snorting, bellowing, “coughing”, grunting, hissing, bleating, mooing and moaning as some of the many sounds they emit for different purposes.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

As long as no sudden or loud noises frighten them and cause them to run away, giraffes will typically go about their business, giving ample photography opportunities — despite knowing all too well that you are there within its vicinity.

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Um…do I dare comment on the photograph shown above?!?

Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Summary

I truly enjoyed watching animals in their native habitat going about their lives — such as when I was unexpectedly treated to witnessing a cheetah surprising its prey, killing it and feasting on it.

Watching zebras and their sometimes quirky behavior was interesting to me. There was the viewing of the lion with one eye with his lioness companion. I enjoyed hanging out with elephants at a watering hole and observing playful vervet monkeys at Lake Nakuru National Park…

…and let us not forget the different varieties of birds which I spotted while on safari in Kenya.

There are more photographs of different animals on deck from that safari to be highlighted in future articles — including but not limited to hippopotami, rhinoceroses and buffalo.

Please stay tuned…

All photographs ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Related

The Evolution of the Giraffe Neck Essay

1154 Words5 Pages

The Evolution of the Giraffe Neck

Throughout time, one theory has remained constant in terms of why giraffes developed longer necks. The idea, which was presented by Charles Darwin states quite simply that giraffes selected for longer necks in order to reach the food that was higher off the ground during the dry season. No one has ever challenged that idea until 1996. Initially, Gould argued that "the story-the giraffe evolved its long neck in competition to reach scare foliage-is supported by no evidence" (18). That's when two scientists, Robert Simmons and Lou Scheepers made the claim that necks evolved for a very different reason: sexual selection. Within this paper, information will be presented that argues both for and against…show more content…

If food was scarce, it makes sense that the giraffes would evolve to keep their species alive. In order for this theory to remain true, there should be length increases in limbs in the same proportion as to the increases in their heads and necks. On the other hand, the proposed theory deals with the notion that the length of the giraffe neck increased because the neck is used as a weapon during intrasexual combat (Simmons 773). The basic idea of this is that during competition two males stand next to each other and exchange hits by using their necks. The top or back of the skull is actually used to knock the competitor to the ground. It is likely that with a larger neck and head, the giraffe is more destructive. It is also assumed that larger and longer necks would be selected for. The process of necking is unique to giraffes and only male giraffes have ever been viewed doing this. Therefore, it is likely that this action is related to sexual selection. Necking has been observed to be very effective for giraffes to obtain their mates. Often the males are knocked unconscious or even killed during the fighting. The violent nature of these fights is unbelievable. Even when an opponent may be knocked to the ground, that does not stop the fight. They may still be kicked or stepped which can eventually lead to death. "Sexual selection is a special form of natural selection that is responsible for the evolution of traits that promote

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