These astonishing images have captured a giraffe who has somehow managed to thrive in the wild for more than five years with a broken neck.
The unique photographs were taken in the Serengeti by wildlife photographer Mark Drysdale, who was in the national park on safari.
The group’s guide told astounded visitors that the giraffe had suffered his injuries while fighting with another male over mating rights. (Click through for the video.)
Typically, if left untreated, animals with such serious injuries quickly die in the wild or are eaten by predators.
However, this giraffe has somehow defied the odds and thrived, despite its outlandish, crooked neck.
Growing to some 19 feet in height, the Masai giraffe is the tallest animal in the world.
Drysdale, who has been working as a professional photographer for eight years said:
I have never seen anything like it!
But the other animals treated it as if it were completely normal and the giraffe seemed to be quite happy.
When giraffes fight, they stand side-by-side, push each other and slam their opponents with their necks, to gain the right to mate with the females.
Whilst I was guiding clients in the Serengeti we were introduced to this giraffe by one of the local guides, who has known the animal for five years.
The animal had broken its neck whilst fighting five to six years before and had remained in the area — where there are no conservation centers or vets — ever since.
I found it strange and it was the first time I had seen such a deformity but he seemed to be in good health.
Although males generally take food from higher up trees than females by stretching to their full length, this guy was unable to do that.
He just ate at the lower levels where there was more than enough food available!
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