Octagon for February

Friends of Fintry Provincial Park

The Octagon – February, 2019  

Greetings Friends,

Just when we thought we were having an “easy” winter and spring was in our sights, along comes the dreaded Arctic air! Hopefully it won’t last more than a week and we can get back on track with watching for those first bulbs poking through the soil.

The Friends of Fintry Board held a planning meeting in January as we step out into another year with a few unknowns. We have started the process of getting all our old photographs, letters etc. of Dun-Waters’ time at Fintry digitized so they will be available online. This is a huge job but will be a wonderful addition to our archives when complete.

We are still sorting through the many, many applications we received for a Caretaker and a decision regarding which way to go with this will be made within the next month. Student grants have been applied for, so now it is a waiting  game (until April) to find out if we have been successful. Having students give tours during the summer months will certainly take a load off our volunteers, so fingers crossed there!

Here is a rather interesting segment from our Curator, Dan Bruce on one of the most talked about creatures in the Fintry Trophy Room……..

“Giraffes are impressive animals, and the specimen in the Trophy Room at Fintry is no exception.   Visitors coming into the room for the first time usually stop at the entry step and gasp. Some are enthralled by the unexpected, and others are resistant, and unwilling to accept the presence of such a creature.

Fintry’s  giraffe was actually born and lived in the Penticton “Game Farm” and was not at any time the object of a hunt.  The taxidermy was done by Abe Braun of Okanagan Falls, and a very skilled job he did too.

Native only in Africa, the giraffe has found its way into many other parts of the world, and has gained a significance of its own in diverse cultures around the world. In 1415, not one, but two giraffes were presented to Yongle, the emperor of China, one of which was shipped direct from Malindi in East Africa direct to China.   At a later date, 1827, a young giraffe was presented to King George IV by Mehemet Ali, the pasha of Egypt. This animal was brought from the Sudan to Cairo, strapped to the back of a camel. It was then shipped, via Malta to England, and arrived safely at Windsor Castle. King George was delighted with the gift, and commissioned the Swiss artist, Jacques-Laurent Agasse to paint the giraffe, together with the Egyptian attendants who were sent to look after it on the journey.  The painting is currently on loan from the Royal Collection to the Zoological Society of London.

Many of Fintry’s visitors accept the idea of the giraffe’s long neck, but then have to reject that notion in view of the fact that almost every four footed creature can easily reach the ground by lowering the head while standing normally. The giraffe cannot, and must spread the front legs to allow the animal to get a drink at ground level. (Elephants cannot reach the ground either, but they have solved the problem with unique equipment of their own)

Anyone wishing to delve into the details of the life of the giraffe may refer to several books on the subject, the best of which is “The Giraffe, its Biology, Behaviour and Ecology” by Anne Innis Dagg and J. Bristol Foster, published by Van Nostrand Reinhold Company,  1976. It is pleasing to note that both the authors of this work are Canadian scientists.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.