The West African, or Nigerian Giraffe as it is also known due to the fact that this is where most of them can be found, is our fourth featured subspecies of giraffe, distinguished in the main from other giraffes by it’s much lighter coloured spots.
In the 19th century the West African Giraffe could be located in a range from Senegal to Lake Chad, however today, this giraffe only survives in a few isolated pockets and it’s last self-sustaining herd can now only be found in southwest Niger.
The West African Giraffe is known to live in a variety of different habitats, including dessert, the savannahs, and areas of dense forest. They rely upon seasonal migration between the relatively drought-resistant lowlands of the Niger River valley and the drier highlands near Kouré in Senegal. In this area, Tiger bush habitat allows for bands of trees to thrive in climates which might otherwise become more typical desert.
These giraffes consume very large amounts of plant life and survive primarily on a diet of Acacia leaves. They continually move around for food, instead of being territorial and protecting a given location and they won’t completely deplete a given area of food before moving on. This way the vegetation continues to be healthy and they will be able to return to it in the future.
Another interesting fact is that you will often find other species of plant eating animals around where the giraffes are eating. Experts believe that these other animals view the giraffe as a safe location since they are tall and can see what other animals can’t. With their great vision and sense of smell, they can warn other animals of predators that may be in the area.
Like all giraffes, the West African subspecies lives in herds of about 15 members and they have a desire for socialisation that seems to be a huge part of their life from birth until death.