Overheard at the Chaircat’s Office

» Posted on Feb 27, 2009 in Blog | 0 comments

Overheard at the Chaircat’s Office

Not long ago, our much-respected Chaircat Duma Duke discovered a look-alike of one of the Animal Orphanage’s residents in a photo from faraway North America. A critter gone astray?

Always a devoted reporter, he decided to investigate himself and soon the news broke – Duma Duke is traveling. …and the tittle-tattle from Mount Kenya, the voices of Africa?

7,000 miles from home, our farseeing Chaircat lent his desk to his trusted friends who ensure that the bush drums continue. Here are some interesting news that just reached us from wintry America:

The critter looking so much like his African friend, the Reedbuck, introduced herself to Duma Duke as a member of the extensive Whitetail Deer Family.

North American Whitetail Deer

Back in Africa, the land of antelopes to which the Reedbuck belongs, a deer is little known so how would you tell them apart?

Our curious Chaircat finds the answer surprisingly simple: through their imposing headgear.

African Reedbuck

You see, antelopes call theirs horns. Most females except in Reedbucks and all males carry these permanently. This mostly hollow structure consists of keratin, similar to fingernails. It grows as a single beam from its base up and out forming interestingly twisted shapes.

Our look-alike, the deer, carries antlers, a solid bony appendage of his skull growing from the tips up. Very few females have this privilege. This unusual and often multi-branched formation is shed every winter and re-grows from late spring to be ready for the next mating season.

…but some deer are called “buck”? Bamboozled! It’s merely a name given to the male deer of North America. Without its antlers, the temporarily bareheaded Whitetail Deer only reminded Duma Duke of his young Reedbuck friend at Mount Kenya Animal Orphanage.

Young African Reedbuck

Young African Reedbuck

Travel with open eyes and you will become a scholar – with this old Swahili saying in mind, our devoted Chaircat continues his travels.

Mount Kenya Wildlife Conservancy