Chapter 2 - The look out
Nuru is three years old - and a lot has changed for the little giraffe.
For a start, she’s not so little anymore. Almost as tall as Mum, her aunts and cousins in the herd, she can reach the very tops of trees now. Her horns have also straightened out and lost their newborn fuzz, standing proudly on her forehead.
She and the herd spend most of their days munching juicy leaves from their favourite acacia trees. The trees’ spiky thorns are no match for Nuru’s long tongue, which she uses to wrap around bunches of leaves before, yank. She strips them off and into her mouth. Deeelicious!
The herd roams across the savannah seeking out these delicious trees. At first it was pretty scary for a young giraffe. There were giant grey animals with horns where their nose should be and rivers and watering holes full of scaly things ready to snap at any opportunity. Their mouths full of sharp teeth.
But she quickly realised that most of the animals looked up to Mum and the rest of the herd. Es-pecially the zebras who, along with jittery antelopes and gazelles, follow them wherever they go.
At first Nuru found this interesting. She would sidle up to one of the stripy horses to investigate. They ignored her, or gave her a toothy nip to the leg if she got too close. But occasionally she noticed them stealing a quick glance at Mum - before returning to their grass munching.
It was only when one of the giraffes spotted a pride of lions on the horizon and started to lead the herd away, that Nuru realised what was going on - the other animals rely on them for safety. The giraffes can see across the plains, spotting trouble in the distance, and the rest of the animals stay close for protection. Wherever the giraffes go, they follow.
Some of her aunts have calves of their own and now Nuru is big enough she mucks in with the rest of the herd, doing nursery duty while the others wander off to find the best trees.
One day she’s standing guard over the calves when she notices something in the grass.
A golden cat, covered in black spots, smaller and lighter than a lion - padding through the under-growth. She snorts and stamps her giant hooves in warning, causing the zebras to whistle in fear.
The cat continues on coolly, pretending not to notice.
The leopard may be gone, off to find something smaller and a bit easier for dinner, but it’s im-portant to always be on the lookout. A pride of lions have recently moved into the area, their cho-rus of roars singing out across the plains in the evening. Their spot is no longer safe. It’s time for the herd move on.
And so they begin their journey across the savannah, further than Nuru has ever gone.
Together, followed by chattering zebra and antelope, they head into the unknown.
Watch out for chapter three coming soon!
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