Struthio camelus (Common ostrich); Struthio molybdophanes (Somali ostrich)
90 to 130 kilograms (200 to 290 pounds)
Stands 2 to 3 meters tall (6 to 9 feet)
40 years in the wild; up to 50 years in captivity
Semiarid plains and woodlands
Approximately 40 days to hatch
Humans, cheetahs, lions, leopards, hunting dogs, spotted hyena
Ostriches are popular in the fashion world.
In the 18th century, ostrich feathers were so popular in ladies’ fashion that they disappeared from all of North Africa. If not for ostrich farming, which began in 1838, then the world’s largest bird would probably be extinct. Today, ostriches are farmed and hunted for feathers, skin, meat, eggs, and fat — which, in Somalia, is believed to cure AIDS and diabetes.
Humans are encroaching on ostrich habitats.
As human populations grow, they expand into areas where wildlife once roamed freely. The construction of settlements and roads and agricultural cultivation all contribute to habitat loss.
Our solution to protecting the ostrich:
African Wildlife Foundation works with local communities to decide on an appropriate plan to bring tourism to the area. In Kenya’s Laikipia region, the Koija Starbeds Lodge was constructed to provide an unparalleled experience to tourists, while at the same time, setting aside land for wildlife, and creating jobs and incomes for the local community. The land at Koija Starbeds has recovered remarkably well from past overgrazing and now supports higher numbers of wildlife.