Taxidermy mount of an adult male Kordofan Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum).

Taxidermy mount of an adult male Kordofan Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum). Shot by Percy Powell-Cotton on 25 June 1925, 66 km south of Sarh (which was then a French colonial post named Fort Archambault) in the south of the Republic of Chad. The skull and complete skeleton of this animal are also in the Powell-Cotton Museum collection.

When Percy Powell-Cotton picked up the tracks of this solitary adult male Kordofan Giraffe, he had actually been searching for a rhino that he had injured two days before. Hunting the Giraffe took patience – the tracks were spotted at 7.30am, but it wasn’t until 10am that a tracker saw the animal and Percy made the first shot. Injured, the animal moved off. It was followed and shot several more times before it died at 11.15am. As it fell, Percy recorded in his diary that the Giraffe “put head down sighed twice, the 1st time I’ve heard Giraffe make any noise, & suddenly fell dead back against tree”.

Giraffes are often thought to be silent animals, as they don’t have a characteristic ‘call’. However, they do produce quiet grunts and snorts, and it has been found that they make low humming noises at night which might be used to communicate.

The Kordofan Giraffe is a subspecies found in west-central Africa with small, scattered populations in the Republic of Chad, northern Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and South Sudan. Kordofan Giraffes are critically endangered. There are estimated to be around 2,000 animals left in the wild, and more than 60% of the total number are found in the Zakouma National Park in the Republic of Chad. These Giraffes are threatened by human encroachment on their habitat, as well as political violence and civil unrest in many parts of their range.