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World's tallest animal: Rarest endangered Rothschild giraffes join family breakfast; unlikely bond with short goat at 1st sight


By WcP.Humor - Posted on 07 August 2009

tall order: A rare Rothschild giraffe joins the breakfast table at the Carr-Hartley family's manor house in Kenya

(quote)

Eight endangered Rothschild giraffes, the rarest (only a few hundred left in the wild) on earth second only to the Niger Giraffe, are free to roam their 140-acre estate and are regular visitors at their English-style manor built in the colonial era. Back in 1794, the grandson of a Scottish earl, Jock Leslie Melville, and his American wife Betty bought the stately home. Later that year they moved two highly endangered Rothschild giraffe into the estate. The ones at the site grow up to more than 16ft tall, weigh two tons & have a life expectancy of up to 30 years. Every day shortly before 9am, the mammoth beasts stroll up to the house and poke their heads through the windows and doors in search of morning treats. Now, married owners Tanya & Mikey Carr-Hartley literally share their dining table with them.

affectionate: the unlikely friends bonded instantly and share bedding, play together, and even cuddle

In the shadow of Kenya’s Mount Kilimanjaro, the world's tallest animals are free to roam their 140-acre estate and are regular visitors at their English-style manor built in the colonial era. Every day shortly before 9am, the mammoth beasts stroll up to the house and poke their heads through the windows and doors in search of morning treats. Married owners Tanya and Mikey Carr-Hartley literally share their dining table with them. And now the pair are sharing the mesmerizing experience with the outside world - by opening the manor gates to guests at the world’s only giraffe hotel.

Mr and Mrs Carr-Hartley, both 38, spent their childhood living close to the house in Nairobi and have both always been fascinated with the graceful giants. Giraffe Manor is home to eight Rothschild giraffes, which are some of the rarest on earth second only to the Niger Giraffe, with only a few hundred left in the wild. A conservation project to save them was started at the Manor in 1974 when the grandson of a Scottish earl, Jock Leslie Melville, and his American wife Betty bought the stately home. Later that year they moved two highly endangered Rothschild giraffe into the estate where third and fourth generations live on. As well as the herd of giraffes, the manor plays host to a large family of warthogs, exotic birds and the elusive bush buck.

our-legged friends: Gerald the giraffe and Eddie the goat became inseparable after keepers placed them in the same enclosure at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol three years ago

Mrs Carr-Hartley added: ‘We know all of the giraffes by name: 13-year-old Lynne is the leader of the herd and can be very persistent about getting treats. Pretty Arlene is 15 years old and is the smallest of the six females. She loves people and will stand below the terrace and allow people to hug her. She quite often loves to just hang out with us and loves to be stroked and touched. She had her only calf, Barney, in August 2007 - they are devoted to each other and he has really come on in the last few months. He is still a little bit nervous about being stroked and touched but he loves kisses. He is currently on the cusp of a scruffy school boy and always has food between his horns dropped by the larger females. He is a typical teenager - one moment a sweet little boy and next second full of attitude. The conservation of the giraffes is very important to us. The giraffes here are semi-tame because they have been hand reared. But the previous owners ran a very successful breeding program, where many giraffes were released into the wild and we hope to continue.’ The Rothschild giraffes lost much of their natural habitat in western Kenya and faced extinction. The ones at the site grow up to more than 16ft tall, weigh two tons and have a life expectancy of up to 30 years.

Pen pals: Giraffe and goat form unlikely friendship when kept in same enclosure

They'll always have a very different outlook on life. But even though Gerald the giraffe is rather lofty and Eddie the goat is more down to earth, they are the perfect pairing. They have formed an unlikely bond after Eddie was placed with 15ft Gerald as a short-term solution to keep the giraffe company at Noah's Ark Zoo Farm in Bristol.

Left: high tea - Tanya Carr-Hartley feeds one of the tall mammals, one of eight on their estate, from a window; Right: table manners: Gerald and Eddie like to be close to each other when they eat. The giraffe even lets his friend get his nose in the trough first

Three years on the pair are as close as ever. Keeper Sammi Luxa said: 'They hit it off straight away, and Eddie has proved to be a great companion for Gerald. They bonded from day one and you can always see them running around the enclosure chasing each other. They are a real hit with our visitors - outside of the zoo nobody has ever seen anything like this before. We just thought it was normal for a giraffe and a goat to get along so well. Although Gerald eats off a raised platform and Eddie grazes from the floor, they like to be close to each other when they eat. Gerald even lets Eddie get his nose in the trough first. They are always together and they really are best mates despite the obvious height difference. One of the zebras they live with called Zebedee can be a bit of a bully sometimes and often chases Eddie. But he soon turns tail when Gerald steps in a shoos him away - he is a very loyal giraffe to Eddie.'

giraffic park: a gentle giant towers in front of the English-style manor house which guests can pay to stay in

Gerald arrived at the zoo as a two-year-old in 2006 and was expected to be quickly matched with a female. But when the zoo found it difficult to find him a mate, they put Eddie in his enclosure to prevent him becoming lonely. Ms Luxa told how the pair are often affectionate with each other, particularly during the Summer months. She said: 'When it is warmer Gerald often bends down and licks Eddie on the head. Eddie then climbs onto Gerald's neck and gives him a cuddle. Whenever the public come and visit the animals, the pair always go to see them together. It would be good if we can get a female giraffe for Gerald but there can be a lot of red tape to get through. I think Eddie will be ok if Gerald gets a mate moved into the enclosure. He isn't really the jealous type, but you never know.'

(unquote)

Photos courtesy of Caters News Agency

Original Source: Daily Mail and Daily Mail

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