African area

Come and discover the big predators, the mighty sprinters and the small mammals from the African savannah …

We have giraffes, zebras, ostriches, blesbok and oryx, all living together in a biotope using grasses and acacias to symbolise the savannah.

Savannah predators

 Lions, the only cats who live in groups

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Lions used to be found all over Africa, in Asia minor and India. There are only 300 individuals left in India, in the Gir Forest National Park. There are still large numbers of lions in Africa, but some subspecies are endangered.

Lions quickly make themselves at home in zoos, and breed easily. An EEP breeding programme has been set up to help save the Asian lion.

The cheetah, an endangered species

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Cheetahs are only found in East Africa and Namibia. Once they inhabited all the dry savannah regions in Africa and Asia. They are big predators that can attack antelopes, but their main prey consists of gazelles and other small mammals. They are built to run extremely fast, and can reach 100 kph (62 mph) over a distance of 500 to 700 metres (550 to 765 yards). The CCF (Cheetah Conservation Fund) is a cheetah research and conservation centre in Namibia.

The athletes of the savannah

The ostrich, the largest bird in the world 

Ostriches live in groups and are polygamous. During the breeding season, the males give a courtship display and the females choose the one they prefer. The male makes a little hollow where the female lays her eggs. Ostriches eggs are the largest eggs in the world, weighing between 800 and 1,500 grams (1¾ to 3 1/3 pounds). The baby ostriches are born after about 42 days.

Grant’s zebras

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A family is made up of a stallion and one to four females, plus the season’s young or those born the previous season. Zebras move around searching for food and travel over large distances. Each zebra’s stripes are different, and they use their markings to recognise each other. Burchell zebras’ annual migration takes them through many game reserves, which has helped maintain their numbers. However, Grevy’s zebras and mountain zebras are endangered species.

Central African giraffes

IMG_1432_crop_200Giraffes from Central and West Africa are distinguished from giraffes from east and south Africa by their white legs.

Giraffes are the tallest mammals in the world. Their gait is the amble: they lift both feet on the same side as they move. They eat about 30 kilos (66 pounds) of acacia stalks, leaves and flowers every day. They use their long blue tongue to gather leaves avoiding thorns.

 

Conservation programmes for West African giraffes
There used to be thousands of West African giraffes from Niger to Senegal, but they have been decimated by hunting, poaching and the extension of cultivated areas. In 1996, there were only 50 giraffes left in Niger. Today, thanks to the Association for the Safeguard of Giraffes in Niger (ASGN), the area is now home to over 180 giraffes.

Small mammals

A little bit further, otters and porcupines make a show of themselves!