When most people think of giraffes, they picture one of the most docile creatures on the planet. In most cases, this is true, which is what makes capturing a giraffe fight on film so rare. But like most species of the animal kingdom, a fight is sometimes needed to protect precious territory.
A documentary film crew for the Discovery channel recently captured one of these rare moments. Discovery featured the fight in a sneak peak for an upcoming seven-part history series, “Africa.” This fight, which lasted a total of 90 seconds, is being called the “most violent giraffe fight ever filmed.”
“It’s extremely rare to catch a giraffe fight on film,” film narrator, Forest Whitaker says in the film. “Most of the time they’re gentle vegetarian. But to protect precious territory, they will fight.”
BBC told Huffington Post that it took more than four weeks for the crew to capture the rare footage, which took place in Namibia.
“Even though we were following the oestrous female and the consorting male, the fight came out of nowhere,” Martyn Colbeck, the crew’s cameraman, told the BBC. “Suddenly the challenger came around the corner of a bend in the river and immediately challenged the dominant male in the most brutal way.”
That challenge consisted of striding up to the side of the dominant male and then making a swing at him with his neck. The dominant met the challenge and the fight began – two male giraffes winging their necks at each other, which are estimated to be about 6-feet-long and more than 500 pounds.
To put the sheer strength behind this enormous animal into perspective, the World Wildlife Fund says that a giraffe’s kick can be powerful enough to kill a lion. Unfortunately, their strength is no match for their biggest danger: poaching for meat and hides.