March 3rd every year is set aside by the UN as the International day of Wildlife. This day is a day to reflect on how far we have come in taking care of Wildlife: Flora and Fauna. It’s also a day to get to know and experience the life of people who have dedicated their lives to caring for wildlife. If you got the chance to do that, Kudos. If you didn’t, let me take you, for a couple of minutes, on how tough it is to treat a giraffe..
Do you see how calm and gentle giraffes are? Think of that friend who terribly betrayed your friendship and all that is left is simply a food relationship only. The kind that ‘I will not know anything about you except when you are hungry’ kind of relationship. That’s exactly how giraffes are. Lily, Stacy’s calf, had an injury on her lower lip as she was browsing at our nature sanctuary. She wouldn’t notify us. However, We were able to note the injury and notify the Kenya Wildlife Service veterinary unit for further investigation, analysis, and treatment, thanks to our observant conservation team.
Finally came the day to treat our beloved Lily. She is 3 meters tall with a crazy ability to camouflage very well in our nature sanctuary. This reminded me of the good old days of the ‘Hide and Go seek’ game. Treating a giraffe is an essential but risky affair. Due to their unique anatomy, especially the long neck, giraffes generate high blood pressure three times higher than humans, how massive are their heart is! Their hearts measure 2ft by 1 ft and weighs up to 11 Kgs. So, darting them has to be the last option if capture tricks do not suffice. Imagine that for a second. Also, they kick on all sides. Capturing and administering medicine to a giraffe becomes a suicide mission if you are not careful about how you approach them. One good and accurate kick can kill an adult lion.
Sometimes, there are those clever and cynical giraffes, like Lily, who wouldn’t take kindness at face value. For them, darting correctly might be the last yet efficient way to give them their medication
Even though it’s a less dangerous option, the only opposition yet very efficient and effective is time. The time between Lily being darted and her losing consciousness was very critical. what Lily did was first to ensure safety in the numbers by getting closer to the tower of giraffes. Upon being darted she slowly started losing consciousness., she started walking away into the thicker parts of our sanctuary. Then, the tower turned to a journey and eventually into a sprinting session with Kenya Wildlife Service team in hot pursuit to make sure wherever she dropped to the ground was safe.
This turned from racing against her safety to treating her before gaining her full consciousness which would be twice as lethal She’d be angry and she’d get to kicking every human in her vicinity.
Finally, The KWS Veterinary unit officials were able to treat her wound and took samples for further analysis and investigation.
that was a great day for wildlife conservation and a good day for giraffes who are deemed to be facing the silent extinction.