The height is the main advantage of the giraffe, as it allows it to feed on leaves from the tallest trees. That's why scientists were surprised to find two dwarf giraffes in two different parts of Africa.
“It's fascinating what our researchers have found,” said Julian Fenesi, co-founder of the Giraffe Protection Foundation. “We were surprised,” he added.
Most giraffes reach a height of 4.5-6 meters, but in 2018 scientists working with the Foundation discovered a giraffe “only” 2.6 meters high in Namibia. Three years earlier, a 2.8-meter-high giraffe had been spotted in a Ugandan wildlife park. Their findings were published in the British Medical Journal in late December.
In both cases, the giraffes had the usual long neck but short legs. This type of disease, skeletal dysplasia, is common in humans and domesticated animals but rarely occurs in wild animals.
A video taken by the institute's scientists shows the Ugandan giraffe, with its thick, muscular legs, in the savannah of Marcison Falls National Park. Behind her passes a taller animal, with the usual, slender and tall legs of giraffes.
“It simply came to our notice then. “The giraffes have risen to reach the tallest trees,” Fenesi explained. In addition, it is unlikely that small giraffes will be able to mate with others of their species, which are twice the size.
The population of the tallest mammal in the world has decreased by 40% in the last 30 years. It is estimated that there are only 111,000 giraffes in the world today. “This is mainly due to the loss of their natural environment, the increase in human population and the expansion of arable land. “And it goes hand in hand with poaching and climate change.”
Sources: AMPE, Reuters