Well-known for poking his head into tents, stealing the odd sarmie and getting fresh with light poles, Abby, the Areena Riverside Resort giraffe, has sired a baby.
Despite his name, 14-year-old Abby is a male and fathered the female baby with Graffiti, one of the reserve’s two females who gave birth three weeks ago following a 15-month pregnancy.
When the Daily Dispatch visited Areena yesterday morning, adventure guide Candice Wescamp drove the team through the reserve until the reedy little animal could be seen in the distance in close proximity of her “aunt” Sahara who loped towards the vehicle, before protectively leading her in the opposite direction.
“The females take turns to take care of the baby and they are very protective of her, so we don’t go up close,” said Wescamp. Back at the resort, adventure guide Jarryd van Rensburg said this was the third giraffe Abby had sired, but would be his last, since he has now been neutered.
“He had a baby each with Sahara and Graffiti three years ago and those babies were sold to a private farm in the Eastern Cape.
“We will also sell this little one when she is about three because this is not really their natural habitat and it is too small. They like open savannah and we have hills and we don’t have enough vegetation for many giraffes.”
Van Rensburg said Abby, who was hand-reared after his mother was poached at Mpongo Park, was now a five-metre tall giant and was no longer allowed into the camping and residential area of the resort because he became destructive to attract human attention.
“If we let him, he would walk right through tents and pull them down and would simply plough over anything in his way,” said Van Rensburg.
“He pulls down gutters and removes electrical fencing for attention and when he does come in we have to chase him out because we would rather stop him than have him hurt someone unintentionally.”
Even an electrical fence fails to keep Abby away from his old stomping grounds amid humans at the resort.
“He puts his whiskers on the electrical fence and if the shock is not strong, he just walks through.”
The new young giraffe will remain a wild animal, unlike her father, who still yearns for his human friends.
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