22 April 2019
Although we can never guarantee a sighting of any specific animal, it is safe to say that no safari in Madikwe would be complete without a giraffe encounter. And fortunately Mateya lies within a Senegalia and Vechellia rich biome, and we have several perennial water sources which means giraffes flourish here. There has been a scientific, and somewhat of a semantic debate, over the speciation of giraffe for a long time mainly due to insufficient research. Until a recent study conducted by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, it was commonly accepted that giraffe consist of one specie and arguably nine subspecies. But said study, focusing purely on genetic material, strongly suggests that there are four distinct species, namely the Southern, Masai, Reticulated and Northern giraffes. Where the semantics come in is with the the definition of the word “specie”, being a group of organisms that can exchange genetic material and interbreed. Although the four suggested species can interbreed under captive conditions, they do not do so in nature where their respective distribution overlaps. Thus the argument has not been concluded yet.
In Madikwe we see the Southern giraffe, and although it is a common sight, the specie as a whole is listed as vulnerable, with a 30% drop in numbers in only the last thirty years.