Girraf(l)e: A chance to name Naval Hill’s new giraffes

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Two of the three giraffes currently living on Naval Hill. Photo: Dr Laurence Grobbelaar.

The Franklin Game Reserve, located on Naval Hill, will soon be home to two new giraffes, and residents of Bloemfontein stand a chance to have the opportunity to officially name them.

This comes after non-profit organisation, Friends of Franklin (FoF) celebrated World Giraffe Day on June 21 by launching a “Gi-raff(l)e Competition”. The competition has a greater purpose then just the naming of the new giraffes as all funds will be used for the purchase, capture, safe transport and release of two additional giraffes.

This is according to chairperson of FoF, Andri Grobbelaar, who told Bloemfontein Courant that the present situation of inbreeding taking place in the herd of giraffes on Naval Hill is not healthy for the future survival of the giraffe species there. This as the current three giraffes at the reserve are very closely related to each other.

“The three giraffes currently living in the Franklin Nature Reserve are very closely related to each other. The giraffe cow mated with her own son and produced his half-brother (as well as his son) in 2019. Luckily the calf is in good health and seems not to have any deformities because of its limited gene diversity,” said Grobbelaar.

Grobbelaar also highlighted that the cow is very old and it is anticipated that she will eventually pass away due to old age. “When that time comes, the Franklin Game Reserve will be left with only two giraffe bulls with no possibilities of new offspring. Therefore, an urgent need for new genetic material exists.”

The organisation has since identified two new giraffes and hopes that public participation and donations will enable them to procure the new animals. The organisation has also hosted a successful paint challenge on June 16 to help restore the painted name, Bloemfontein, which was laid out with stones on Naval Hill. The restoration of the national monument, “White Horse”, will follow suit. The challenge was limited to 100 locals due to the new Covid-19 Alert Level 3 regulations.

According to Grobbelaar, the positivity of all the people and sponsors involved in this project was amazing. “FoF would like to thank their local Bloemfontein sponsors and businesses who provided paint, paint brushes, coffee, muffins, water, videography, interviews and their time to make this project a success. Ordinary people, working together to make a ‘Bloeming’ difference,” concluded Grobbelaar.

FoF invites the public to purchase “Gi-raff(l)e” tickets at R60 per ticket in order to enter the lucky draw competition. At this stage only a direct EFT payment option exists for entering this competition.

Contact Andri at 083 542 6556 or send an email to friendsoffranklin.bfn@gmail.com for banking details. Participants may buy as many Giraff(L)e tickets as they want to bigger their chances of winning. Send the proof of payment to the aforementioned email address with your name and Giraffe as reference.

FoF will then contact you with your Giraff(L)e-ticket number(s). The competition closes on Sunday, August 1, with the live Lucky Draw Event to be announced shortly thereafter.

Pierce van Heerden

pierce@mahareng.co.za