Tanzania: Tale of Momella’s Giraffes Without Tails
A strange observation has been noted at Momella: Many of the park’s giraffes are either missing their tails or these appendages have been snipped off, leaving severed stumps in their places. Even stranger, the problem is said to be caused by the ‘lack of lions’ in the park. This is according to wildlife experts at the Arusha National Park, which is famous by the name of Momella. The decline in the lion population, caused by poaching and human-wildlife conflict has left few carcasses available for scavengers such as hyenas, which then bite or nibble at the tails of giraffes.
In other areas poachers have been reported to kill giraffes for their tails. These illegal hunters then sell the tails or hides on the black markets. Some tribes have been known to braid the hair from the giraffe’s tail making them into bracelets and then sell them to the tourists. Mass poaching of giraffes in the West Kilimanjaro wild (a corridor which strides between Momella – ANAPA and Kilimanjaro National Park) in the period between 2006 and 2008 was accounted to beliefs by locals that bone-marrow from giraffe could cure HIV-Aids.
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