Passions of a Giant Tortoise
On Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos, Ecuador, there are several Fincas or Farms that invite visitors to view the island's endemic Giant Tortoise in the wild. One day, my friend Fernando drove me to his friend's farm and we spent the late morning wandering the trails of the farm together. We came upon this big tortoise in a pile of very ripe Passion Fruit. He had no fear of us and we were able to approach, but only when we were not openly laughing at him. He's a messy eater.
Nose to Nose
Just outside of Nairobi there is a hotel called the Giraffe Manor. This place is dedicated to breeding the species of Giraffe known as Rothschild's. Though these animals live in an enclosed area, the young are released back into the wild after they reach a certain age. The Giraffes at the manor are fond of pellets that the caretakers feed them, and have become at least accustomed, if not fond, of people. This female Giraffe approached me with interest, but quickly discovered that my camera is not as tasty as she had hoped, and immediately chose another visitor to investigate. The Rothschild Giraffe can be easily differentiated from the other Giraffes because it has no markings on the legs below the knee.
In Samburu National Park, Kenya, we came upon a family of African Elephants grazing contentedly by the Uaso Nyiro river. With such a young baby they paid attention to our every move, and the one on the left, gradually moved herself between our vehicle and the baby. African Elephants are a Vulnerable Species, poached for their ivory, and threatend by habitat loss, and ecosystem destruction, they come more and more into conflict with humans. These animals live in a matriarchal social society, and infants depend heavily on elders to learn how to interact appropriately in elephant society. Elephants are highly emotional creatures, and show obvious grief when one of their clan has been killed. It is believed that a baby, who watches her mother murdered, can suffer the same symptoms as a young human child who has been traumatized. These magnificent animals deserve more consideration, respect and protection than they are currently recieving worldwide.