Rothschild’s giraffe in Lake Nakuru National Park
Rothschild’s giraffe in Lake Nakuru National Park: The Rothschild’s giraffe is one of the many mammals you find in Lake Nakuru National Park. The Rothschild’s giraffe is a rare and endangered giraffe species that was introduced in Lake Nakuru National Park in 1977. The giraffe species was brought to Lake Nakuru National Park from western Kenya for its conservation and protection. The Rothschild’s giraffe was brought to Lake Nakuru National Park as a Kenyan government effort to support the continued conservation of endangered wildlife species.
The total number of Rothschild giraffe in Lake Nakuru currently is roughly 65 individuals and you can see all these individuals on your visit to Lake Nakuru National Park.
Like the Rhinos the Rothschild’s giraffe are also enclosed in the fenced sanctuary of Lake Nakuru National Park for their protection: the fence keeps them from leaving the park and keeps poachers from snooping into the park and killing the giraffes.
The Rothschild’s giraffe is very distinct from other giraffe species with its most distinct feature being the paler patches on its coat. The Rothschild’s giraffe has pale orange-brown patches in a cream like channel; the orange brown patches are sharp and not as jagged as the regular giraffe. The regular giraffe on the other hand has very dark patches in bright whitish channels on their coat.
The Rothschild’s giraffe’s lower legs have markings that look like white stockings on a giraffe which is not the case with the regular giraffes. The Rothschild giraffe is the tallest giraffe species among all giraffe species and compared to the other giraffe species that have two ossicones, the Rothschild’s giraffe has five ossicones; two large ones on top of the head like other giraffes, then the others one ossicone is at the giraffe’s fore head and two behind the ears of the giraffe, one on each ear.
The name Rothschild’s was given to this giraffe species in honour of Lionel Walter Rothschild. This Zoologist, who has other fauna species with him, is believed to have been part of the people that discovered this giraffe species or rather studied its particular traits that proved different from the other regular giraffes.
The Rothschild’s giraffe is similar to the Maasi giraffe from afar but with close attention you will observe that the coat designs are very different for both species; especially if both species are looked at, at the same time.
Rothschild’s giraffe are known to live and survive well in grasslands, savannahs and woodlands, that’s why in Kenya the species was relocated from western Kenya to Lake Nakuru National Park to which was and still a more suitable habitat for the Rothschild’s giraffe.
The Rothschild’s giraffe species is social and individuals of this species live in small herds of same sex individuals (females alone and males alone); they only come together to mate. They can even live with other animal species for as long as they don’t feel threatened or they are not competing for food. The Rothschild’s giraffe start reproducing at 3 or 5 years of age, with females reaching reproduction age sooner. They don’t have a specific mating time, it can mate any time of the year and after mating the female will be pregnant for 14 to 16 months and it will give birth to one child per a time.
The Rothschild’s giraffe are herbivores and they feed mainly on leaves from trees like the wild apricot, acacias and many more. However, you can find them feeding on fruits or sprouts in some areas. The Rothschild’s giraffe have good sense of smell and hearing which allows them to elude their predators.
Predators for the Rothschild’s giraffe are lions, hyenas, leopards, and crocodiles. Like for any other animal species the calves and weak giraffes are the most targeted by the predators and the easiest to get, though at times even well strong adults can be captured by predators. The adults fight off predators with strong powerful kicks that can fatally injure or even kill a predator.
Poaching of the Rothschild’s giraffe and its habitat encroachment and degradation are the main things affecting this species and hence rendering it endangered. This is the reason most of the Rothschild’s giraffe are kept in protected areas like Lake Nakuru National Park for their continued conservation. You can visit the Rothschild’s giraffe in lake Nakuru any time of the year.