The past distribution of giraffe in KwaZulu-Natal

Michael Cramer, A.D. Mazel

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    8 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) are thought to be introduced aliens in KwaZulu-Natal, an area in which they flourish today. This perception was based on the lack of reference to sightings of giraffe in early colonial literature and the lack of giraffe remains in archaeological sites within KwaZulu-Natal. We have reviewed the literature and found no reliable reference to giraffe in early colonial writings and no reports of rock art featuring giraffe in the area. However, there are recent reports of the recovery of giraffe bones from the Middle Stone Age deposits at Sibudu Shelter, the Holocene hunter-gatherer deposits at Maqonqo Shelter and from the Early Iron Age agriculturist site of KwaGandaganda, all within KwaZulu-Natal. We argue that giraffe were present 1000 BP (date of most recent excavation evidencing giraffe remains), but had died out or been extirpated by c. 220 BID (date of written accounts). The demise of giraffe between 1000 and 220 BP may be linked to disease, climate change or anthropogenic causes. The finding of giraffe remains within KwaZulu-Natal raises the possibility that they should be considered as native to the area.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)197-201
    JournalSouth African Journal of Wildlife Research
    Volume37
    Issue number2
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2007

    Fingerprint

    Giraffa camelopardalis
    shelter
    South Africa
    rock art
    hunter-gatherer
    Mesolithic
    Iron Age
    bone
    excavation
    Holocene
    climate change
    distribution
    arts
    rocks
    bones
    archaeological site
    literature
    iron

    Cite this

    Cramer, Michael ; Mazel, A.D. / The past distribution of giraffe in KwaZulu-Natal. In: South African Journal of Wildlife Research. 2007 ; Vol. 37, No. 2. pp. 197-201.
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    The past distribution of giraffe in KwaZulu-Natal. / Cramer, Michael; Mazel, A.D.

    In: South African Journal of Wildlife Research, Vol. 37, No. 2, 2007, p. 197-201.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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