For those familiar with our Stories, Science & Secrets podcast you’ll know our curiosity is sparked by the incredible ways plants and animals inspire human ingenuity. From inventions to medicines, it’s all thanks to a field of science called biomimicry.

So, today, on World Giraffe Day, we’re thinking about a creature as amazing as it is tall: the giraffe! This annual, worldwide event creates awareness and sheds light on the giraffe’s Silent Extinction.

This gentle giant not only holds a special place in its ecosystem but also offers valuable lessons for biomimicry.

Giraffes, the towering titans of the savanna, are more than just fascinating creatures. They hold a secret weapon in their biology—a treasure trove of inspiration for sustainable solutions and even breakthroughs in human health. But giraffes face growing threats, making their conservation more crucial than ever.

Biomimicry Marvels

Giraffes are a goldmine for biomimicry, the science of learning from nature. Their long necks, for instance, inspired the design of antigravity suits that help astronauts. Their complex vascular system offers insights for improved medical treatments related to blood pressure regulation.

Silent Sentinels of the Savanna

Giraffes play a vital role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. They eat leaves other animals can’t reach, so they promote plant diversity and prevent overgrazing. Their keen eyesight helps them detect predators, keeping other herbivores safe.

Tongue Twisters

Their favourite food, acacia leaves, come with a built-in defence system: sharp thorns. But giraffes have a solution as unique as their long necks. Their tongues are incredibly long, reaching up to almost 6 feet (1.83 metres), perfect for snatching the highest leaves and avoiding the spiky dangers. These tongues are specially adapted for their thorny diet, boasting a thick, tough layer that protects them from punctures.

Super Snackers

Giraffes spend up to 12 hours a day consuming leaves. Interestingly, their tongues are often a dark bluish-black colour. So, this dark pigmentation might offer some protection from the hot and harmful rays of the African sun, potentially preventing sunburn.

Did you know that, just like human fingerprints, no two giraffes have the same coat pattern!

Masters of High Blood Pressure

Their long necks cause extremely high blood pressure, which would be deadly for humans. However, giraffes have evolved remarkable solutions. Their bodies feature compressed organs, altered heart rhythms, efficient blood storage, and the biological equivalent of support stockings in their legs. Scientists are studying these adaptations to understand how giraffes defy the dangers of high blood pressure, potentially leading to new approaches for human health.

A Species in Peril

While giraffes aren’t classified as endangered, several subspecies face a much bleaker picture. Out of eight assessed subspecies, two—the reticulated giraffe and the Masai giraffe—are classified as endangered. The situation is even more critical for the Kordofan giraffe and the Nubian giraffe, which are both listed as critically endangered. The Kordofan giraffe has lost a staggering 90% of its population since the 1980s, and the Nubian giraffe has declined by a shocking 98%.

How You Can Help

The future of these magnificent creatures is uncertain, they have lost almost 90% of their habitat in the last 300 years, but there is still hope.

On the positive side, organisations like Born Free Foundation and Giraffe Conservation are dedicated to giraffe conservation efforts across Africa. So, by supporting their work, you can directly contribute to protecting these gentle giants and their vital role in the ecosystem.

It’s important to realise that giraffes are more than just beautiful creatures. They’re living laboratories, offering solutions for a sustainable future and even holding the key to breakthroughs in human health. Protecting them isn’t just about safeguarding a majestic species, it’s about safeguarding the delicate balance of our planet. This is a message that lies at the very heart of our beloved audiobook adventure, Lost on Infinity. A tale enjoyed by millions around the world.

A FREE Audiobook Story for All the Family

We’re delighted to share that, for a limited time only, all four parts of Lost on Infinity absolutely FREE on the Apple App Store! It’s the perfect companion for your summer travels, suitable for listeners of all ages. Download them all now and embark on an unforgettable adventure that celebrates the power of nature and the importance of protecting all living things.

Resources for Teachers and Families

Download our FREE lesson plans and slides about extinction, biomimicry, and the natural world in our shop.

For even more exploration of the natural world, tune in to our “Stories, Science, and Secrets” podcast for kids.  Join Matthew, Elaine, Steve Punt and special guests, as we delve into the fascinating world of biomimicry and the inspiring ways science learns from nature’s genius.