Introduction:

Animal: Giraffes


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Why this animal?

I chose this animal because giraffes are my favorite animal. I also chose this animal because I barely know anything about giraffes, although they are my favorite animal. I chose giraffes because they are unique with being the tallest animal in the whole world. Also giraffes have extremely long necks which makes them unique and tall. I would like to know why giraffe's necks, and legs are so long. I also chose this animal because they live in the biome grasslands and I know quite a bit about grasslands which will help me study the giraffe. These are the reasons why I chose the unique animal giraffe.


Giraffe Food Web:

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Savanna Biome:

My name is Jenna Boller and I am studying the Savanna biome today. Right now I am in the Savanna biome in the middle of winter. It is 70°F there, and very dry. Unlike the summertime in the Savanna, the winter season is lucky to get 4 inches of rain. The plants that are in the Savanna are ready for this dry season though. The main plants that are in the Savanna biome are shrubs and isolated trees. The plant’s have longer tap roots than other plants so that it can survive in the dry season (winter). The trees also have thick bark so that the trees can avoid fires since it is so dry. Also the trees have larger trunks than most trees so that they can store their water in the dryer winter season. The trees and plants also have leaves that will fall off of them to conserve water. Some of the plants due to the dry weather will become sharp and taste bitter which will make herbivores not want to eat the plants. Right now I can see a tall giraffe spotted eating the acacia tree. The giraffe’s favorite thing to eat is an acacia tree. A giraffe uses its very long neck to reach the very high acacia trees. That is one reason why the giraffe can survive living in the Savanna biome. Since the Savanna biome has a lot of plants and trees giraffes are able to survive eating just plants and not having to search for water. The plants are moisturized and give the giraffes the water source they need. Giraffes need to live in a biome like Savanna because they need to be able to see if a predator is coming after them. If a giraffe would live in a rainforest they would not be able to see their predators because the trees are so tall and block the view of the predator. The giraffe’s defensive skills to get a predator away would be to use their long legs. In the Savanna biome, lot herbivores live because they eat plants and there are a ton of plants in that biome. Carnivores are able to live in the Savanna biome because they eat the herbivores. Some animals that the giraffe would encounter living there are lions (one of there predators), zebras, and elephants. There are definetely more species and types of animals that live in the Savanna biome.

Observation Journal:

Day 1: I am flying in an airplane on my way to the Savanna in Africa. I will be landing at any moment now. I am super excited at what I will discover about the majestic giraffe. I am extremely happy I have the opportunity to go and research about the giraffe. I will be staying in Africa for about a week. It will be a very exciting week and I can’t wait for the giraffes to teach me what they do in their everyday life. Bump…bump…bump. We have just landed in Africa at one of their outbreaks. I now have to travel by a jeep to my location where I will be living for the week. Wish me luck. I will write again tomorrow, see you then!
Day 2: I have woken up and I am ready for what I will hopefully discover about giraffes today. It is a beautiful day today, and I hope that more days will be like this. I have a feeling though that since it is summer time in the Savanna it will probably be raining tomorrow. Anyway since it is a beautiful day outside I will make the best of it. I walk to the observation spot, or what I will be calling it the “tree house”, and use my binoculars to see if I can spot a giraffe. I wait for what seems like hours until I spot something tall and spotted. It is a giraffe! I can’t believe my luck, I just started looking and already I found a giraffe. I start observing the giraffe and how it is acting. This giraffe is eating right now from the acacia tree which is the giraffe’s favorite food. It takes a while for the giraffe to eat, it uses its blue-purple tongue to grab the leaves from the tree then it uses its teeth (their teeth are like ours) and eats the leaves. The giraffe’s teeth are meant for eating plants not animals for their meat. The giraffe gets done eating and walks across the Savanna. I follow it and see where the giraffe will continue going throughout the day. The giraffe heads toward the river and takes a drink, lapping the water up until it feels it has drank enough water. Then I discover something amazing about the giraffe! It heads home to his mate and baby giraffe. The baby giraffe is small compared to the mom and dad but it is still very tall. The mom takes care of her baby and protects it. I observe the giraffes for awhile, and then look at my watch and see the time. It is time to head back to the location I am living at. I had a very good day discovering everything I saw about giraffes. I can’t wait until tomorrow to see what I can discover. Who knows maybe I will find the same giraffe family again to observe more about them.
Day 3: I woke up to hear the sweet sound of rain...what a terrible start to my day. It is alright, I can still focus on other things I want to learn about my giraffe. I go to the "treehouse" and look to see if a giraffe or any animals in that matter come out. It seems pretty "dead" outside all quiet and everything. I guess the animals must feel as if today is one of those days. Well I guess I should head back to the campsite and get prepared for what tomorrow will hopefully bring. As I am heading back I spot something that is spotted...I take a closer look and...nothing it was just my imagination playing tricks on me. I guess this trip is taking its toll on me after all. Anyway I head back and get prepared to hopefully find the giraffe family again tomorrow. There is so much I can learn about the family of giraffes if I can find them. All in all today is a day that makes me want to definetely get back out there and observe animals. Weather permitted of course! Well see you all later bye!
Day 4: I woke up this morning and it is quiet. I look outside the house and see....no rain! What luck, normally the Savanna rains all the time in the summer. Anyway I need to find that giraffe family right away. I head towards the part of the Savanna where I found the giraffe family the first time. I get to the area and wait and see if the giraffes will come out. Then...I spot something...it is a baby giraffe. The mother giraffe comes right over to protect its baby. I sit in the shadows of the Savanna watching how the mother and baby interact. The mother and the baby giraffe go over to a river and drink water. The spread their legs out (almost like doing the splits) and the bend their long necks and start lapping up the water. It is so cool to watch! But then It happens. A lion is approaching the mother and baby giraffe. The mother senses it and gets the baby out of the way. The mother then uses her long legs to kick the lion away. She is so powerful with her legs, since that is the way giraffes get predators away, the lion with one kick runs away. The mother quickly gets the baby giraffe and her out of that area and they head towards an acacia tree to eat. The mother eating the acacia leaves is very graceful, she chews up her food slowly which makes it take awhile to eat. The baby giraffe goes to a smaller acacia tree and eats the same way ( I assume the baby giraffe is almost ready to be on its own). I sit and watch the giraffes eat for a couple of hours since giraffes eat slow, and then look at my watch to look at the time. It is way later then I thought it was! So I head back to the campsite excited by all the discoveries I found out about giraffes and their babies relationships. I can't wait to observe the family some more tomorrow! Bye until then!
Day 5: I woke up to hear a light drizzling rain. Hopefully it will stop in time for me to discover things about giraffes. As I am leaving the campsite the rain slowly stops and I am excited for the day to begin. I go to the place where the giraffe family lives and discover something I didn't know. I didn't know that the giraffe and the yellow-billed oxpecker had a mutual relationship. I see the oxpecker take the ticks off of the giraffe while the giraffe provides shelter to the yellow-billed oxpecker. Not only that but giraffes and ticks have a parasitistic relationship. The tick is taking the blood from the giraffe and the giraffe is gaining absolutely nothing from it...except pain or uncomfortableness. I observe this for a while until the oxpecker flies away. The giraffe then heads to an acacia tree to eat the acacia leaves and twigs. It eats for a while then heads back to its home. Then I discover something else, the giraffe gets back to its home and just stands there. I am confused on what it is doing until I discover the giraffe is sleeping. Giraffes sleep standing up, I would find that very uncomfortable. While I watch the giraffe sleep I notice something beautiful. The sunset in the Savanna is just so beautiful I just sat and watched it until it set then I headed back to the campsite. I can't believe all the things I found out about giraffes in just one day! Tomorrow is my last day so hopefully the weather holds out on me. Bye until then!
Day 6: Well I woke up this morning knowing that this was my last day in the Savanna studying giraffes. It made me a little teary-eyed but I had to get out the and see what else I could discover about giraffes. The weather was decent today, a little windy. I went to the "treehouse" and looked to observe things around me. Saw nothing but some birds singing to me in the air. So I went to the place where the giraffes have been living as long as I have been here in the Savanna. I see the giraffe family and it makes me smile knowing that everything I have learned so far was because of these amazing animals. I go with the giraffes one last time around the Savanna. My favorite thing about the giraffes that I have discovered has to be how they drink water. The way they spread out their legs and bend down to drink water just fascinates me. I decide to head back early to pack. All I know is that this trip has been so great there aren't words to describe my trip. Well see ya tomorrow...well you might not want to look at me because I will probably have a cried face that is red and puffy.
Day 7: I woke up packed and ready to get in the jeep and get on the helicopter. I just can't believe how much I learned about giraffes in just a short week in the Savanna. This experience has been very life changing for me. I hope that what I have discovered will help people understand giraffes more and how they are important to us. I know I will come to the Savanna in the next year or two so that I can discover even more things than I thought was possible to discover about giraffes. Thank you all for staying with me and believeing in me as I was on this great expedition to discover amazing things about giraffes. Beep...beep...beep oh that must be my ride see you all later.


Day 2:
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The giraffe is eating from an acacia tree.

Day 4:
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The mother and baby giraffe eating from the acacia tree.


Day 5:
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The yellow-billed oxpeckers are on the giraffe taking the ticks off of the giraffe.

Day 6:
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The giraffe drinking water from a river or stream.


Wildlife Monitoring Technique:


I chose Radio Telemetry for my giraffe because I thought this was the best way to monitor a giraffe. I thought it was great to see where giraffes go throughout their day in the Savanna. I also thought it was a good way to observe the giraffe because giraffes do a lot of walking around throughout the day. Another reason is that it is easier to monitor a giraffe this way instead of putting a tracker or a collar on the giraffe.I also thought it was a good way to see how the giraffe is acting throughout the day. Such as if they are sleeping, moving around, or if they are dead. It is also a way to monitor the giraffes predators to see where the predators are during the day. It also helps for us to see what the giraffes eat, or where or why the giraffes tend to stay in an area. Radio Telemetry is great to see giraffes actions, eating habits, and way of life. With it we are able to find out amazing things about the giraffes.


Using the Reaseach:

Giraffes in general are not endangered but are considered at lower risk with their population size. Their populations have gone drastically down. Giraffes are decreasing in numbers because of illegal hunting, disease, loss of habitat, and buildings/ construction being built on their habitat. The illegal hunting is one of the biggest things getting out of hand, they are hunted for their hides, meat, coat, and tails. There is no law yet saying that you can't hunt giraffes so they get hunted for all of those things. Because of the road building and construction going on in the Savanna, giraffes are losing their habitat fast and with no habitat that means no giraffes. If the giraffe's habitat is getting cut down then that means the giraffe's diet,acacia trees, will no longer be there. With no food for the giraffe they will eventually die. What will happen to the majestic giraffes if we don't stop this? To help the giraffes you can donate to organizations that will help the giraffes in the Savanna that desperately need your help to save one of the most unique animals in the world. If we don't help, one of the most popular and unique animals could become endangered or threatened later in the coming decades. Once again you can help by donating money to orgnaizations that will help giraffes stay for many decades to come. For more information you can google giraffes and learn all about them and how you can help save an amazing animal.


Fellow Researcher:

The fellow researcher I chose was Anne Innis Dagg. She went to South Africa in the 1950's to study giraffe's and how they live. She was one of the first zoologists to study wild animals in Africa. She discovered some very unusual things about giraffes. She discovered things such as the male giraffes lick the female giraffe's urine. She spent some time in South Africa and never gave up trying to find things out about her favorite animal the giraffe. After her experience in South Africa Anne wrote a book called Discovering Giraffe. Giraffes are both of our favorite animals. If I could, I might consider observing how giraffes live and interact with other giraffes and animals just like Anne did. I never give up on things and neither did Anne even when times were tough. Anne told people how giraffes were living and interacting in South Africa. She also told how we should help the giraffes so they don't become endangered. I believe that if we don't help the giraffes they will become endangered. They are already going down in numbers due to illegal hunting, loss of habitat, and disease. So we must stop the illegal hunting before it get so out of hand the giraffes become threatened or endangered. If we do not stop all of these limiting factors we could lose one of the most unique animals in the world. I feel that Anne Innis Dagg showed people how important giraffes are to the world and what will happen if we don't help the giraffes.

Bibliography:

Maisano, S. 2006. "Giraffa camelopardalis" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed February 24, 2012 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Giraffa_camelopardalis.html

"Blue Planet Biomes - World Biomes." Blue Planet Biomes. Web. Jan. 2012. http://www.blueplanetbiomes.org/world_biomes.htm.

"Giraffe -- Kids' Planet -- Defenders of Wildlife." Defenders of Wildlife. Web. Jan. 2012. http://www.kidsplanet.org/factsheets/giraffe.html.

"Mammals: Giraffe." San Diego Zoo's Animal Bytes: Giraffe. 2012. Web. Jan. 2012. http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/t-giraffe.html.