When I posted a few giraffe pictures recently for Jennifer Nichole Wells’ One Word Photo Challenge, fellow blogger, Scillagrace, pointed out that I had omitted to include any which show the giraffe’s prodigious tongue. Going back to the photo files I managed to find a few that give only an idea of just how long it really is. A giraffe’s prehensile tongue can measure anything up to 18 to 20 inches in length. Very useful for reaching those tasty leaves on the topmost branches of a tree in the wild but at the zoo the food is put within easy reach so there’s not much call for any kind of strenuous tongue activity.
I’m always in two minds about visiting the zoo. While I’m not thrilled about seeing such noble creatures so limited by their captivity, still I can appreciate the fact that, with many of the earth’s species rapidly racing down the road to extinction, such institutions may be their last hope for survival.
With dedicated research, successful breeding programs and fearless conservation efforts, what goes on behind the scenes is perhaps far more important than putting on a good show for the paying public.
I don’t consider myself naïve enough to believe that there aren’t some unscrupulous places that, under the thin guise of caring for the welfare of endangered wildlife, merely exhibit animals for the sake of making a tidy profit, but I hope I’m not so cynical that I can’t acknowledge the important work being done by the many genuine organizations that exist, for the most part, for the purpose of ensuring a better chance of survival for all life on this planet in the future.