About the Author

Tayla Brown

Ranger

Tayla grew up largely on a farm in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands, where she developed her love for nature. After completing school she spent time in Botswana before studying EcoTourism management in Pretoria, which served as a springboard into a guiding career at Phinda ...

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13 Comments

on Fascinating Giraffe Behaviour: Reaction to a Fallen Companion

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Vin Beni
Guest contributor

One evenomg last winter we followed a pack of wild dogs who had left their pups behind in their den. They chased a leopard off its kill, a baby giraffe, and fed on it. A female giraffe, presumably the mother, stood nearby. When we returned the next morning, the dogs and leopard were gone. There were 2 giraffes walking around the remains.

Christa Blessing
Master Tracker

Dear Tayla, I certainly believe that animals have lots of similar emotions as we human beings do have. After all, we are also „only“ an animal. I have seen distress in birds and mammals. Whether it‘s because of hormones or something else, doesn‘t matter, I think.
Animals are just wonderful creatures.

William Paynter
Master Tracker

Tayla, thank you for sharing this not so unusable behavior with us. I believe animals do grieve when death occurs within their clan.

Francesca Doria
Master Tracker

Hi Tayla, thanks for this touching and very interesting video. I had already seen videos of mother giraffe trying to protect their dead calf but such a numerous group of adults around a dead one is really something unusual. Maybe for us, it may happen more frequently. Compassion is a biological imperative for mothers, I am convinced that all animals have deep relationships and emotions. Corvid family is known to do that, swordfish, marine mammals and many others, also stray cats and dogs besides our pets. Love the giraffe, it’s a great animal.

Mary Beth Wheeler
Guest contributor

So moving, Tayla. Perhaps we’ve underestimated these elegant, serene creatures. It makes me wonder what else we don’t know about the interior lives of these and other animals.

Irene Henkes
Digital Tracker

Could well be. It wouldn’t surprise me if we find out more and more about animal behaviour, simply because we now know more, so one can see more………….
Very interesting blog Tayla, thank you!

Carolyn Clarkson
Explorer

As a CVT, I am convinced that some animals do indeed grieve. I have actually witnessed such behavior in my own dogs, and of course one hears stories of other pets or wild creatures displaying such behavior. While it is hard on my heart, I know that this is part of the true circle of life.

Denise Vouri
Guest contributor

Tayla, this is such a thoughtfully written piece. The photos and video demonstrate the apparent emotional side of this animal that is usually not expected. The premise that animals do not possess human emotions is generally followed by most, but I don’t believe it’s a black/white issue based on my experience observing animal behavior, both domestically and in the wild. So much to ponder….

Anita Santoro
Explorer

omigosh so amazing

Valmai Vorster
Master Tracker

Tayla it looks as if the giraffe’s where saying good bye to the one that was dead. I felt sorry for them, and it looks like they where coming to grieve over the lost one.

Cally Staniland
Master Tracker

Such a moving story Tyler, I must say it brought a tear to my eye…particularly hearing the tragic story of the mother giraffe 😔

Karin Webber
Explorer

So interesting, thanks for sharing

Paul Canales
Master Tracker

Beautiful post Tayla, and I really appreciate you approach to understanding animal behaviors without falling to the temptation of anthropomorphizing.

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