I've been perusing lists of wild mammals who are not native to North America for the NPR Sunday Puzzle and discovered this beautiful beast with wonderful coloring
and a sweet face:
The word gerenuk is from the Somalian word garanug meaning a long-necked or giraffe-necked gazelle. The genus and species name Litocranius walleri
is from lithos, Greek for stone (so, of course, I was even more curious) and kranion, Greek for the upper part of the skull. The "stone skull" is a reference to the skull which is almost solid bone at the base of the horns.
The Waller's gazelle is named for the Reverend H. Waller (1833-1901), a friend of the infamous Dr. Livingstone (I presume).
Reverend Waller spent much time in this part of Africa with the gerenuks:
The gerenuk feast on leaves, fruits, and plants, especially those higher up in the desert brush. They like to browse together in groups but have little need for a water cooler to gather about as gerenuks almost never drink water, getting most of their water from the food they eat.
In ancient African tribal tales, the gerenuk has been crowned "Queen of Humbleness" due to their looking out for one another. . .and never needing an "Attaboy or attagirl." ;-)
Seen any gerenuks (or other interesting mammals) lately?