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Wildlife Photographer of the Year (Postcard) - The Disappearing Giraffe

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POSTCARD: Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022 - The Disappearing Giraffe 

Sensing that another train is on its way, the unmistakable form of the world’s tallest land mammal dashes between the giant pillars that carry Kenya’s new Standard Gauge Railway across Nairobi National Park. The beauty and vitality of this statuesque animal – adult giraffes can reach more than 5 metres tall – contrast starkly with the inanimate grey blocks towering alongside.

The Maasai giraffe (one of nine giraffe subspecies) bears distinctive dark brown blotches with jagged edges. Each individual has unique markings, though elements of the pattern may be passed down from mother to offspring. Such complex coat patterns may help in one or more ways, including in social communication, in temperature regulation and, possibly, in the evasion of predators and parasites. Numbers of Maasai giraffe have declined from a historic estimate of more than 63,000 individuals to 35,000 and are still decreasing. Most now live in fragmented and often degraded habitat.

The new high-speed railway, from Mombasa towards Uganda, cuts through the park bordering Kenya’s capital. Though raised on 178 giant columns to allow access beneath, its construction and operation inevitably impact wildlife. Jose tracked the agitated giraffe with his lens, as it disappeared between the pillars. His picture is symbolic of how the space for wildlife continues to be squeezed.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2022
The Disappearing Giraffe 
Jose Fragozo
Natural Artistry, Highly Commended