Giraffes And Other Animals ~ Graceful In Their Own Unique Way

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This week’s Daily Post photo prompt induced a ‘long ago when we lived in Africa’ moment, and thus a nostalgic trawl through the old photo files. It was giraffes I first thought of. They may seem an ungainly composite of various creatures, but to see them moving across the plains is a sight that cannot be forgotten. They lilt in time to some inner rhythm of their own. This is more apparent when you see several moving together. And you wonder what is this giraffe music, beyond your hearing, that they stride forth to with such synchronicity?

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Some of the plains’ song you can hear of course – the wheesh of dry grasses, the ceaseless koo-kroo-ing of collared doves, the crickets’ whine. And as you scan the bush country, looking for any signs of wildlife, these are the sounds that fill your head. The sun is hot on your scalp, the light too bright, and the spicy scent of thorn trees too rich for the over-sensitive. But just when you think all the game has gone and there’s nothing more to see, magic happens:

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This cheetah mother with six half-grown cubs, walked out of the undergrowth beside the park track. When we stopped the car to watch she didn’t so much as blink at us. It seemed we were the least of her problems. She was trying to make the cubs stay in one place while she went off to hunt. But they were not having it.

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No sooner had mama parked them and moved out sight, than one (there always has to be one) goaded the obedient ones out of the cover that had sheltered them until they all decided to follow.

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In the end, mama gave it up as a bad job, and gathered the offspring and disappeared into the bush. It is a mystery how she had ever managed to rear so many teenage cubs.

These photos, sadly ageing, were all taken in Nairobi National Park, a gem of a park that borders the city. It covers only 46 square miles, but when we lived In Nairobi during the 1990s the wildlife corridor to the south was still open, allowing for seasonal migration. Today there are all kinds of pressures from one of the fastest growing conurbations in Africa – the need for farm land and for better transport links. It’s a thorny issue however you look at it – wildlife versus humans: probably no happy solution; gracefulness seems not to be a natural human trait.

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copyright 2017 Tish Farrell

 

Daily Post Photo Challenge Graceful

45 thoughts on “Giraffes And Other Animals ~ Graceful In Their Own Unique Way

  1. I missed the previous post. I shall read it tomorrow. ‘Tis a bit late down here.

    This was wonderful and poignant as well. I know it’s a bit like sticking my head in the sand but many stories of this nature – the inexorable encroachment of humans – just make me so darn miserable so I generally avoid them.

    We were surprised in a similar manner during a drive through the Ado Elephant Park when, after stopping to look at a couple of elephants away to our right a troop, including matriarch and several young ones, suddenly materialized behind us from a dense copse.
    Funny how they are so large and yet can be quite eerily stealthy. Celeste nearly wet herself!

      1. When we went on a walking safari in Zambia and came in rather close proximity to browsing elephants, the zoologist guide went into great detail about the cushion of fat in the back of an elephant’s foot, which in turn means it’s sort of permanently wearing high-heels. I expect you knew that though. Amazing animals.

  2. Thank you, Tish. My class is learning about Africa. We used animal Beanie Babies to graph which ones live in the desert, the grassland, and the jungle. I will share these photos with my class on Monday.

  3. When my girls were little they asked me why giraffes had long necks. Being a bad parent, I told them that it was because giraffes did not have knees and they would be unable to drink if they did not have a long enough neck to allow access to the water. They believed me for a while.
    Wonderful photos Tish. I love the cheetah family.

  4. Never seen that many cheetah together. You lucky person!
    My favourite giraffe pictures are when they have just finished drinking and they flick off the water in their mouths. Sadly I can’t post one here.

  5. Oh my goodness these photos leave me breathless. We are getting ready for our first trip to Africa in March. Your images stir my excitement further. Amazing!

      1. We actually are doing a cycling tour for half of the trip but do have time near Kruger National Park as well as spending some time in Victoria Falls.

      2. That sounds wonderful – Kruger and Victoria Falls. The Zambian side of the Falls is worth a visit. You can walk across. Or you could when we were there. Nice little museum in Livingstone.

  6. I’ve just read the kidlets “Giraffes can’t dance”. They obviously can, although not quite in the extravagant way the book envisages. I love your music of the plains, and your memories of Africa are always pure delight, as are the photos.

    1. There’s another dance that giraffes do, and sadly I don’t think I have any photos. But young males (I think) do mock fights which involve slow motion coiling of necks – one with another. It looks like courtship. Giraffe ballet.

  7. What a wonderful insight into a part of the world I have never visited. I’m not a fan of zoos but watching the giraffes in the Melbourne zoo with my little grandson was a marvellous experience. You describe the way they move very well. The photos of the cheetahs are terrific. How sad that these animals can’t roam so freely any more.

  8. I am always filled with nostalgia after reading one of your Africa posts. Love the giraffe photos and I agree – they are graceful creatures. I am deeply saddened that we humans are not taking more care of our wildlife.

    1. One of the side effects of severe climate change that has long been underway in the tropics, I’m afraid. The poverty that this causes gives rise to a multitude of pressures on the wild world; to say nothing of the resources conflicts that go on.

  9. I love the notion of lilting giraffe music, Tish. How wonderful would it be to sashay across the plains, in step with those lovelies. And poor Ma Cheetah! Tearing her hair out… 🙂 🙂 You fill me with nostalgia for a place I’ve never been! Happy weekend to you.

    1. And to you, dear Jo. It’s a strange feeling – feeling nostalgic for a place you don’t know. But maybe some genetic memory does remain, of the time when we were all becoming humans on the African plains 🙂

  10. Tish, have you heard that the government wants to build a railway line across the Nairobi National Park? It is horrifying. Considering that so many animals are facing extinction. Giraffes are endangered now. So are cheetahs. And many, many more. Yet, instead of protecting, the devils that rule this country, the contemptible and contemptuous immoral scum that Kenyans keep electing into the government, wishes only to destroy, seeing no value in saving lives, greedy, greedy, greedy, to their own nasty stinking marrows.
    I’m so sick of the government. They have mortgaged 40% of the country to foreigners. 40% of the national budget goes to pay back debts. Squandered monies that did no good.
    Why do we compare nasty, crude and cruel people to animals while animals are actually much better? I’ve been thinking that do so endangers the animals even more. Because even the worst fools of humanity think animals are worse than them, and so unleash their untamed stupidity on the animals.

    1. Hello Peter. How are you my friend? Although I don’t really need to ask, at least on this topic, as I can see you are very angry. Understandably so. I am so sorry that your country’s government is such a disaster. It doesn’t appear to value either its citizens or its wildlife. Sending you a big hug. You sound as if you need it. Pole, bwana.

      1. Thanks, Tish. I really do need it. There’s an election this year and the country is tense already. I have no hope for this nation.

        Sorry I didn’t greet you first. I was carried away. Happy new year, my friend. Stay well.

      2. Hello again, Peter. Thank you for your good wishes. I’ve been following Kenyan events on Kenya Poa blog, so I’ve been reading about some of the dire situations on the election run up. I’m wishing you all the very best too, and for Kenya. It’s more than time for end to the post-colonial hegemony and its pillaging. Time for some true leadership. You have good people there if they could be given a chance. Tx

  11. I’ll never forget seeing giraffes in Botswana, very graceful creatures. Your cheetah photos are incredible, what a mum she must have been to have six. Fabulous Tish!

  12. so true – likely no happy solution; gracefulness seems not to be a natural human trait….
    and I love the photos – and nice take on GRACE

  13. “Out of Africa”.
    Thanks for sharing this post, that reminds me so much of one of my favourite films.
    I would love to visit one day this part of the world.

  14. Hats off to that mother! Raising a litter of 6 to that age requires herculean efforts, only made worse when one of more of them refuse to cooperate. I bet she is as eager to get them hunting as is a parent living for the day when the eldest child gets that driver’s licence, freeing her from the the endless chauffering.

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