That giraffes are huge animals was never in doubt – that they are so huge that 10 men and a tractor are needed to save them from themselves was perhaps more in question. Two videos emerged this week of dramatic rescues of giraffes that had gotten themselves in potential life-threatening, sticky, and painful situations. Thankfully, teams of dedicated conservationists were alerted to the incidents and, in amazing displays of ingenuity and strength, were able to save the giraffes from death!
The first takes place in the Democratic Republic of Congo, on a private game reserve. A massive bull giraffe – the largest of the male giraffes – had managed, somehow, to get wire stuck around its neck. It is not clear if this happened near a fence or if the wire was on the ground or wrapped around a tree. In any case, the wire was close to choking the giraffe and the reserve employees were concerned it would end up killing the giraffe. A rescue team was assembled and led by Neil Parsons.
Joined by almost 10 other men, they first shot the giraffe with a tranquilizer dart. Parsons described the incident by saying, “Giraffes are one of the harder species to catch. They are easy to dart but to get them down without dying is a challenge. The whole process took around 15 minutes.” With the help of the other men, despite the fact they didn’t speak English, Parsons said, “The giraffe is now fine, he had joined up with his females before we left the farm. It was a huge relief when we had the bull in hand and he was breathing normally!”
It was a risky maneuver, but Parsons was certain it was necessary: “It had wire wrapped around its neck which was constricting but hadn’t cut into the flesh yet, if it was left longer it probably would have cut into the neck and eventually killed the giraffe.” The extraordinary video tells the story of the captivating encounter. After the giraffe is shot with the tranquilizer dart, the men surround it, holding a rope which is used to trip up the huge animal and bring it to the ground so the men may cut the wire that is threatening the giraffe’s life!
The second dramatic rescue took place in the Lamu District, on the northern edge of Kenya and involved the use of a tractor to pull a giraffe from an increasingly sticky situation. Conservation workers from the Lamu Conservation Trust anti-poaching team and the Kenya Wildlife Service in the region were alerted to the fact a giraffe had gotten stuck in the mud surrounding a watering hole. Because this was another male bull giraffe, the rescue was going to take some extra horsepower.
Again, ropes were used to secure the animal, and, three hours later, with much heaving and pulling, the tractor was able to pull the massive animal free of the mud. The giraffe, slightly stunned, took a moment to compose itself back on dry land, before trotting off to safety. Saving a life is one thing – dedicated conservation workers here saved two giant lives!