It’s Monday 10th December and the giraffe.

I do hope that you have had a fabulous weekend with plenty of joviality. So what news from the Luangwa? Well, to be honest with you today’s It’s Monday is going to take a slightly different stance, as we are having a giraffe update. What picture comes into your mind when you think of Africa? I am sure the obvious image of a large maned male lion but I am also sure that up there at the top is that iconic image of a lone giraffe feeding on a lone acacia in the middle of a vast open plane… It really is one of those classic African images.

A tower of giraffes, a journey of giraffes, so many subspecies with subtle differences. An array of wonderful local names – here in Zambia the local name is Nyama likiti the literal translation being the animal that makes the ground tremble. And across the border in Malawi “Kadyamsonga” meaning a feeder on tree-tops. Then there is the Latin name “Camelopardalis” which suggests that it is a cross between a camel and a leopard.

We need to protect this iconic species and African Parks have been doing just that down in Majete. We are now able to share some news of our exciting new arrivals in Majete Wildlife Reserve. Last month 13 giraffes were successfully introduced into the reserve for the first time. They came all the way from South Africa, spending over three days in the back of a truck and covering 2,500km.

African Parks have worked tirelessly on setting this project up and helping to protect this incredible animal. They also passed on some rather alarming information about giraffes and the survival of the species.

Giraffes are one of the iconic animals of Africa and yet they have been placed on the ‘Red List’ of threatened species and even more worryingly is that several subspecies of giraffes are now critically endangered. The numbers are down by some 30% since the 1980’s with fewer than 100,000 remaining across the continent. Having fallen to the devastating effect of poaching and hunting for their skin and their meat; as well as in some areas simply being killed just for their tails as part of a traditional brides’ dowry.

These 13 giraffes are now however happily making Majete their new home and are living there peacefully, along with a host of other animals. We sincerely hope that they thrive in their new home.

The translocation effort was undertaken with Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Malawi Department of National Parks and Wildlife, with additional support provided by the Sundaram Family. These wonderful animals have already been making an appearance, much to the delight of guests staying at Mkulumadzi!

All giraffes both in Majete and here in the South Luangwa must certainly be enjoying the wonderful flush of new green leaves that are popping out left right and centre with the rains that we have been getting. They do however look slightly entertaining as they become even taller from the thick soil sticking to their hooves as they wander around with their muddy socks on!

So without taking away the spotlight from the giraffe I am going to prevent myself from peeling off and nattering away about all sorts of other things. I hope that you all have a fabulous week, with lots of smiles and laughter; and don’t forget to look after each other.

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