Poachers are killing record numbers of giraffes because many people believe the animal's meat and bone marrow is a cure for HIV. Giraffe bones and severed heads can fetch astronomical prices.
They are also under threat from some rural African communities for their meat and also as an important source of income. Giraffe skin and hair is used to make clothing and accessories. They have few natural predators and, as the tallest land mammal on safari, their high visibility led people to assume they were doing well. Only recently have they been added to the Red List of endangered species. Brett Westwood admires how the impossibility of the giraffe has captured hearts worldwide. Brett Westwood stalks the leopard Brett Westwood meets a rhinoceros nose to nose and is blown away by the experience.
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Brett Westwood explores how tigers that once burnt bright reached the edge of extinction. Brett Westwood follows the camel on its route through human history and culture.
Natural Histories. Main content. Camelopard The first Europeans to see giraffes thought they were too strange to be of this world and so they developed a mythical status. The animal was actually too weak for this to have happened. Tall stories Giraffes are the tallest land mammal, largely due to their enormous legs and towering long neck.
Photograph: Jim Pike. Giraffe Brett Westwood admires how the impossibility of the giraffe has captured hearts worldwide. Leopard Brett Westwood stalks the leopard Rhino Brett Westwood meets a rhinoceros nose to nose and is blown away by the experience. Elephant Brett Westwood follows the elephant through human history, from battlefield to big top. Tiger Brett Westwood explores how tigers that once burnt bright reached the edge of extinction.
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View Eight reasons to love reindeer even more! What Are Tardigrades? Do not dart giraffe that have just drunk as they tend to regurgitate once immobilized.
Avoid the heat of the day and excessive chasing of animals. Dart sites include the shoulders and hind-quarters. The more traditional method of capturing giraffe uses a combination of immobilization with etorphine and mechanical capture.
The animal is darted with etorphine and as it becomes significantly affected and ataxic it is slowed and pulled down using ropes. A 20 meter rope with three people on each end is held in front of the animal so that it is caught around the upper legs. The ataxic giraffe is slowed until stationary and the rope is then crossed behind the animal and pulled until it collapses to the ground.
The use of A at the above dose rates usually results in the animal becoming recumbent without having to be roped and pulled down. Signs of induction include an initial excitement phase accompanied by running, as the animal becomes more affected its head is held far back, it becomes oblivious of what is in front of it and blunders through trees and bushes.
At this stage the darted animal usually trips or stumbles and fall. Handling of the immobilized animal Once recumbent it is essential that the head of a giraffe is restrained and held down at all times. Blindfold the animal and fit a halter to which a lead rope is attached over the head of the giraffe. Plug the ears with cloth or cotton wool and tape them closed to ensure that the ear plugs stay in place.
Give the antidote as soon as possible. There is usually no time to monitor an immobilized animal before the antidote is administered. However, it is essential to ensure that the antidote results in a rapid improvement in respiratory function rate and tidal volume.
This is used to help direct the animal once it is standing. The head of the giraffe is released and the animal assisted into a sternal position. The animal is allowed to stand up in its own time.
Once standing, the giraffe is guided, using the attached ropes, into a recovery trailer or chariot. The chariot is used to transport the animal to the transport crate. The halter, blindfold and earplugs are only removed once the animal is in the transport crate. Giraffe can kick very accurately when recumbent or standing, despite being blindfolded and great care must be taken to remain out of range.