Linda and I have plans to join Jacob Rothschild and his son for breakfast in late August.
Lord Jacob, 4th Barron and member of the prominent Rothschild banking family,
lives here in his palatial manor, 35 minutes outside of Nairobi, Kenya.
No, wait! This is not his home, and he and his son are not the Rothschilds we’ll be joining for breakfast.
We’ll be eating breakfast with the Rothschild’s giraffes at Giraffe Manor.
The manor house was built in 1932 as a hunting lodge.
In 1974, the lodge and surrounding grounds were turned into a giraffe sanctuary when the new owners learned that Rothschild’s giraffes were in danger of extinction. (The apostrophe is in the right place, by the way.) Since then, Rothschild’s giraffes have thrived, with 140 acres of indigenous forest to make their home, alongside warthogs, dik diks, waterbucks and over 180 species of bird.
There are more than ten giraffes on the property these days. They’re very used to the manor’s guests. In the morning, they put their heads through the open windows in order to eat the pellets that are served alongside each guest’s breakfast order.
Rothschild’s giraffes are one of the most endangered populations of giraffe, with 1,669 individuals estimated in the wild in 2016.
They display no markings on the lower leg.
They are the only giraffes to be born with 5 ossicones. Two of these are the larger and more obvious ones at the top of the head, which are common to all giraffes. The third ossicone can often be seen in the center of the giraffe’s forehead, and the other two are behind each ear.
The Rothschild’s giraffe was named after Walter Rothschild, the above mentioned Jacob Rothschild’s great uncle.
Walter Rothschild, 2nd Barron was a London banker, politician and zoologist.
One hundred fifty-three insects, 58 birds, 17 mammals, three fish, three spiders, two reptiles, one millipede and one worm also carry his name.