June 21 each year is World Giraffe Day. Initiated by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, it is observed annually on the solstice, so it is either the longest day for the tallest animal, or the longest night for the tallest animal.
The International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed giraffes as Vulnerable to Extinction. Their numbers in the wild have plummeted in the last few years – some say by 40% in the last thirty years. There may be as few as 80,000 left. The main threat against giraffe (either giraffe or giraffes is an acceptable plural) is the expansion of human settlements. There is simply not as much room for them to live. Conservation efforts are underway all over their African habitats, but it’s a race against time.
Below are a few interesting facts about giraffe from the Out of Africa Wildlife Park. We call a group of giraffe a tower. A giraffe’s heart has to generate almost double the normal blood pressure of other animals to maintain blood flow to the brain against gravity. Giraffe have a complex pressure-regulation system called the rate miracle that prevents excessive blood flow to the brain when lowering its head to drink. And finally, giraffe have air conditioner skin to deal with the heat. I know more than one person who would like to have that in the summer!
Zoos and others all over the world are involved in celebrating giraffe this day. From the Aukland Zoo to Zoo Berlin to the Kenya Wildlife Project to Zoo Lyon to the Odense Zoo (Denmark) to the Prague Zoo to the Toronto Zoo to the Whipsnade Zoo in England, and any number of others in the United States, along with Disney’s Animal Kingdom. So check around. Your local zoo could very well be doing something special this day.
But whatever you do today, give a thought to these gentle giants who are now under threat.
Quotes about giraffes
Consider the biggest animals on the planet: elephants, and buffaloes, and giraffes. These are vegetarian animals. They grow to thousands of pounds of muscle and bone without ever eating cheeseburgers and pepperoni pizzas.–Michael Klaper
Wildlife is something which man cannot construct. Once it is gone, it is gone forever. Man can rebuild a pyramid, but he can’t rebuild ecology, or a giraffe.–Joy Adamson
Evolution is so creative. That’s how we got giraffes.–Kurt Vonnegut
I know who I am. No one else knows who I am. If I was a giraffe, and someone said I was a snake, I’d think, no, actually I’m a giraffe.–Richard Gere
However much you know giraffes, to see one in the wild for the first time feels prehistoric.–Jane Goodall
I’d hate to be a giraffe with a sore throat.–Mitch Hedberg
Did you ever see a giraffe? It is like something from between the regions of truth and fiction.–Geraldine Jewsbury
G. K.Chesterton once said that it is one thing to be amazed at gorgon or a griffin, creatures which do not exist; but it is quite another and much higher thing to be amazed at a rhinoceros or a giraffe, creatures which do exist and look as if they don’t.–Alan Watts
Giraffes stare over treetops, their huge brown eyes blinking, then lope away in seeming slow motion.–Thomas French
A giraffe has a black tongue twenty-seven inches long and no vocal cords. A giraffe has nothing to say. He just goes on giraffing.–Robert Fulghum
I can’t even explain the joy of riding through the Tanzania national park and seeing giraffes run across the road and elephants over in a pond and baboons running.–Emanuel Cleaver
The man who believes in giraffes would swallow anything.–Adrian Mitchell
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