According to Bob Kleynjan, Sasolburg Operations Senior Manager Environment, both the giraffe cow and calf are doing well. The newest arrival is however still very shy and he will take time to adapt to his environment.
A decision to keep the Bongani Mabaso Eco-Park closed to the public was taken to allow the calf time to adapt to its environment. The calf’s mother is very protective of him and could present a safety risk to visitors should the park be re-opened prematurely. This is in the interest of the giraffes, as well as for the safety of visitors. Giraffes are very protective of their young and may become agitated if the calf is perceived to be in danger. There is also a risk that the cow can reject her calf while he is still dependant on milk from his mother. The well-being of the calf and impact of COVID-19 will be monitored. This will determine when the reserve can be re-opened to the public.
Sasol’s Sasolburg Operations manages two nature reserves in Sasolburg. The Leeuwspruit Nature Reserve is situated just outside Sasolburg on the R59, towards Parys, while the well-known Bongani Mabaso Eco-Park is situated in Vaalpark, with boundary fences on the R59 and R57.
According to Kleynjan the purpose of the reserves is to protect bio-diversity. Both reserves have a variety of animals and bird species. Some of the not-so-often seen mammals are the duiker, reedbuck and mountain reedbuck. More common species in the parks include black wildebeest, gemsbok, zebra and red hartebeest.
Bio-diversity studies are done in the reserves, focusing on spiders, insects, frogs, reptiles, birds, mammals and grasses. “The purpose of the studies is to develop nature reserve management plans to firstly maintain the current bio-diversity in the reserves, but also to increase species diversity,” said Kleynjan.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT GIRAFFES
- When a baby giraffe is born, it drops up to 1.8m to the ground and lands on its head. The fall does not hurt the calf, but makes it take a deep, first breath. After an hour or so, it can walk on its own.
- When giraffe calves are born, the animals are on average 1.8m tall and can weigh anywhere from 45 – 70kg.
- Baby giraffes grow 3cm every day for the first week and will gain most of their height and weight in the first three years of life.
- A grown giraffe’s tongue is 50 – 53cm long.
- Giraffes only need four hours of sleep a day.
- Giraffes can run up to 56km per hour over short distances.