15 Giraffes Introduced in Lake Mburo National Park


Many tourists that I have led on asafari in Uganda going through Lake Mburo National Park which is one of the smallest savannah parks in Uganda covering an estimated area of about 260squre km ranging between 1,200 to 1,800 meters above sea level and which was degazetted by almost 60% due to the conflicting interested between conservationists and the local community who are predominantly pastoralists have always started or ended by asking about the presence of this even toed ungulate (the same as cattle, camels, sheep, goats and even hippopotamus – but not horses).

Small as Lake Mburo National park is, to me it is very suitable for this species since when protected, giraffes can flourish in areas where food is abundant year round and this is a major characteristic of Lake Mburo as it is almost green throughout the year punctuated with acacia the main diet of the introduced species, although they drink water upon availability, they can survive where it is scarce occasionally feeding on grass and fruits of various trees and shrubs they come across but in the lay man’s language- their staple food is acacia trees which they selectively spend sixteen to eighteen hours nourishing and only to collect approximately 65 pounds of foliage and if the worst comes to the worst, 15 pounds are sufficient on a single day, no wonder the shape and size!

Their arrival in this park is going to be a great supplement as the park registers a bird list of about 315 bird species with special visitors from northern Tanzania and other Intra African Migrants from South and West Africa. Popularly it is referred to as the zebra park in the southern hemsphere because of the highest concentration of Burchel’sZebras in this park. Another special registered here is the Impala in addition to the usual sights of elands, common duiker, the Oribi,warthogs, bushbucks, buffaloes, leopard highly on a night game drive among others.

The Baringo giraffe Giraffacamelopardalisrothschildi was named after the Tring Museum’s founder, Walter Rothschild, it is the tallest living mammal, exceptionally adapted to reach vegetation inaccessible to other herbivores, it is least observed with a distinctive walking gait, moving both right legs forward, then both left which prompted the Zulu to relate its name to a beautiful walk not undermining their height, they reach a speed of thirty five miles per hour having “horns” which are actually knobs covered with skin and hair above the eyes that protect the head from injury.

Much as many safari guides and a few parties in the tourism industry have had skepticism about this development, with voices to be listened to for example that it will reduce the number of days for tourists doing on Uganda wildlife holidays, that it will affect other destination in particular Murchison falls National Park, where the giraffe has been the most sophisticated mammals and attraction, plus other augments making it a double edged idea of debate, I am hand in glove with the Uganda Wildlife Authority for this inventiveness and I highly await the promised translocations to other areas of interest where these endangered “magnificent in appearance, inexplicable in form and world’s tallest mammal can shrive which is mostly in dry savannah woodlands and areas dominated by acacia with access to drinking water as this will spice up Uganda safaris to the western and south western parts of Uganda together with those habitats where they will be introduced as it will reassure conservationists of their diverse existence in the different parts of Uganda and probably multiply more, as we keenly interested stakeholders are well aware that, even though often seen together in groups, giraffes do not form the complex social groupings as other plains species they live in loose associations, constantly changing in make-up, which at times making their breeding hard, this move is further a prudent idea for short term tourists as lake Mburo is about 4 hours of driving from the capital and having it that are estimated one thousand six hundred remaining in the whole world where 700 are leavingin captivity and only 800 in the wild where Uganda takes the lions share where they have been living only in Northern Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Parks with countable numbers in Kenya’s protected areas.