By Timmy the Intern
“You’re having a giraffe!” he said, and I thought he was messing.
It’s a colloquialism for ‘having a laugh’, but I was taught a lesson.
I had signed up for an African student exchange scheme
in which understanding wildlife was the fundamental theme.
I thought I’d get a student of microbes or ecology
but what I got instead ate leaves and measured seventeen foot three.
“Hello there,” I said to him the minute he arrived.
He said “Oh my word, a nightmare, I can’t believe that drive!
Where I come from they truss you up in the back of a truck,
and they’ve pumped you full of sedatives, so you don’t give a – you know -,
and they wheel you over to a patch and you struggle to find your words
and the drugs wear off then they tell you “Go and shag some birds!”
But here, oh my word, it’s awful, you’ve got such tiny cars,
and the seats in them are uncomfortable, I’ve numbness in my arse,
and do you really have to take life so bloody fast? The pace of ya,
and who do you have to trample around here to get some damn acacia?
I’m just a humble ungulate, I’m basically a tall cow,
and here I am at Euston station getting in a row,
I said “I need more headroom!” he said “Sorry, sir, we’re for people.”
I said “You never mentioned that when I bought my ticket, that’s deceitful!”
he said “I am sorry you’re dissatisfied, here, fill in this form of complaint.”
I said “I can’t bloody do that, in possession of opposable thumbs I ain’t,
and what’s more I’m a damn giraffe. I don’t feel I belong!”
he said “I once had a seven foot mate and he was fine, don’t get me wrong.”
I said “The issues here are different your mate’s not at threat of extinction.”
He said “He was tall, you are tall, I see no distinction.”
I said “Look, the persecution of wildlife has really gone too far,
I can’t fit on your trains and I can’t drive in your cars,
and your pavements are too hard upon my weary hoof
and your houses are so tiny that my head pokes out the roof.
You’ve ignored the elephant in the room for long enough I feel,
our issues are not fabricated, they’re very bloody real.
We need our own environment, we need our own home space,
we need to get on with our business without humans in our face.
I’m the tallest living mammal, I’m a marvel of your time
but you’d think because I don’t live in the city my existence is a crime!
I’ve no problem with your culture, even termites have nests,
but maintaining wild environments is really for the best.
And don’t just bumble around trying to do it by half.
Trust me, put your heart into it, save this fine giraffe.”
The giraffe had a point, though other species are under greater threat,
habitat loss and climate change could do away with giraffes yet.
Encouraging prosperity and growth is all well and good,
but not when it leads to poaching tusks or chopping down the wood.
We need sustainable solutions, we need to really change,
We need to make the wild world less imposing and less strange.
We don’t need to ditch internet, medicine and civilisation,
we just need to recognise the beauty present in all creation.
The world does not exist for the sole purpose of our lives,
it also exists for giraffes on plains, forest cats and beehives.
I know we’re smart enough to halt wildlife’s adversity,
and promote life and evolution and great biodiversity.