Striped one’s love knows no bounds

2015-01-27 00:00

A YEAR after a zebra stallion adopted a newborn giraffe, the pair are still all but joined at the hip as they graze and browze at the Tri-Hunt game reserve between Bloemfontein and Brandfort in the Free State.

Manager Willie Maas (21) said if the zebra grazes in a different direction from the giraffe’s mom, the young calf would rather follow the striped equine.

Maas recalled his amazement when he found the unusual pair last year.

“When I got to the new-born giraffe, the zebra stood right next to the cow and licked the afterbirth off the calf. I have never seen something like that,” he said.

Willem Maas senior said the two animals are together “all the time”. He said the zebra used to keep other game away from the giraffe when it was smaller, but he has of late relaxed his vigilance a bit. But when sister paper Volksblad visited the reserve yesterday, the striped bodyguard kept himself firmly between possible danger and the calf.

Maas speculates that the young stallion had been pushed out of its herd last year and was feeling lonely when it decided to create his own herd. A healed bite wound on the stallion’s tail showed he had been bullied in his own herd. “One of the other zebras bit its tail. That is why there is such a knob.”

The year-old giraffe could become an older brother one of these days, as its mom is carrying again.

Maas said the dominant giraffe bull doesn’t spend a lot of time with his tower of giraffes.

“He is now making eyes over the fence at the neighbour’s giraffes.”

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