Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Namibian Giraffe

The Namibian giraffe is either a separate species of giraffe or a subspecies of the southern giraffe, depending on which taxonomy you choose to follow. The Namibian giraffe is also known as the Angolan giraffe (the scientific name is G. angolensis). I'm calling this particular giraffe the Namibian as I'm featuring only giraffes we saw in Etosha National Park and a 2009 genetic study suggests that the populations in Etosha and the northern Namib Desert of Namibia form a separate subspecies from the giraffes of southwestern Zambia, Botswana and western Zimbabwe  which are also part of this same species/subspecies. For my purposes, those giraffes I saw in Botswana and Zimbabwe I'm going to identify as the Angolan Giraffe under a separate post. 
This giraffe distribution map from Wikipedia shows the Namibian and Angolan giraffe in red. The Namibian is the population to the west in Namibia and the Angolan is the population to the east, primarily in Botswana and western Zimbabwe. What I find disturbing is how few areas are left in Africa that still have giraffes. 
The first giraffe we saw was the late afternoon we drove into Etosha NP. We drove out to Okondeka waterhole, 31 kilometers north of Okaukuejo. This giraffe was at a waterhole with quite a few vultures feeding on an animal we could not get a good view of and on the edge of the vast pan that much of Etosha consists of. This was the most barren ground we saw in Etosha. 
Note a couple of vultures in the foreground.
Our second day in Etosha we saw some giraffes just east of Okaukuejo, about four in all, spread out among the thorny acacia trees. 
Four are captured in this one photograph. 
I like the juxtaposition next to the thorn tree. 
The following giraffe was seen after we turned on the road south to Halili. 

The white ear patch, this subspecies is known for, is fairly recognizable on this giraffe. 
After we checked into Halili for the night, we took a drive out to the Goas waterhole, northeast of Halili, late that afternoon. We had several good giraffe sightings relatively close to Goas. 

The white ear patch stands out in this picture. It looks like a white line down the neck, just behind the jaw.  It also illustrates that the spotting pattern extends throughout the legs. 
The patterns on this giraffe illustrate the large brown blotches with edges that are either somewhat notched or have angular extensions. 
The white ear patch is visible here as well and note that the spotting pattern does not extend to the upper part of the face. 
Our third day, on the way out of Etosha, we stopped at the Chudop waterhole, just 7 kilometers from Namutoni on the far eastern side of Etosha. There we saw three giraffes, some wildebeest and impala at the waterhole. 
A giraffe backed by wildebeest. 
The underside and legs of this giraffe. 

1 comment:

  1. That penultimate shot captures the absurdity of giraffes--the skinny neck, the spots, the short horns. I have loved learning about the differences among the different species of giraffes from you.