Skip to main content

New Beginnings – Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Africa

new beginning

Image: Billy Dodson

The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) is a non-profit organisation dedicated to securing a future for all giraffe in Africa. Contrary to the general perception that giraffe occur widely across the African continent, the latest estimates indicate that there are only ~90,000 giraffe remaining in the wild. This signifies a decline of over 35% in the last three decades. Founded in 2009 by a few passionate people with a concern for giraffe, GCF has been a UK-based organisation, which has seen the steady increase of operations and project implementation in many giraffe range countries in Africa.

In an effort to bring giraffe conservation closer to its cause, the UK-based organisation has now been closed and with the full support of the former UK Board of Trustees, GCF has been re-homed and is now registered and based in Namibia. This new organisational set-up will locate operations and governance centrally in Africa, which is very exciting because it will allow for more extensive outreach and support within the giraffe community. GCF implements and/or supports giraffe conservation efforts across Africa, currently in Namibia, Uganda, Niger, Kenya, Ethiopia, Cameroon, DRC, Tanzania, and Zambia.

Wherever giraffe live, we are there.

This transition will have a positive outcome for the future of giraffe, as well as for our mission to promote giraffe conservation internationally. Being present on the continent puts us closer to the action. This will allow a more hands-on approach to fostering new initiatives and to forging closer partnerships throughout Africa; we will be able to work more easily with government agencies, NGOs, universities, and communities on a local level; and we will be able to become part of the broader political and academic landscapes that help define and design a conservation strategy for giraffe throughout Africa.

As environmental and conservation experts, Julian and Steph Fennessy have helped build GCF’s successful programmes since 2009. Their combined experience and dedication, together with GCF’s partners, will ensure the continuation of the great success and momentum GCF has already built.

The testimony of this transition makes perfect sense because, putting it simply, giraffe can only be saved in Africa.

GCF re-launches with a new logo and a new website. The new logo has been designed by Kevin Halfhill, an amazingly talented American artist who supports giraffe conservation. His support includes the design of the new website as well as all the merchandise for GCF and World Giraffe Day. We aim to have a greater presence in the world of social media, in order to reflect and share the spirit and dynamism of this new organisation. We would love to hear what you think and feel about GCF’s new logo and website, so please send us your feedback.

Speaking of launches, we are excited about the launching of a new fundraising campaign for World Giraffe Day, 21 June 2016: “Putting people at the centre of giraffe conservation.”

With rapidly dropping giraffe numbers in most of Africa, the time to act is now. It is imperative that we secure a future for all giraffe in Africa. Depending where you are in the world, World Giraffe Day will celebrate the world’s tallest animal on the longest day and the longest night of the year (the summer and winter solstice).

Giraffe populations across the African continent face different challenges that require unique approaches to securing their future. For World Giraffe Day 2016, GCF is launching two major fundraising awareness campaigns for Kenya and Namibia, with the goal of raising US$50,000 for each respective country.

The fundraising campaign for Kenya will help protect reticulated giraffe in the northern part of the country. Reticulated giraffe numbers have declined by almost 80% over the last three decades, with only 8,600 individuals remaining in the wild today. Habitat loss and illegal hunting are the greatest threats in their natural habitat. To be able to protect reticulated giraffe in northern Kenya it is vital to learn more about their numbers, their distribution, their seasonal migration patterns, and how much space they need. The project is a community-based collaborative conservation effort, spearheaded by San Diego Zoo Global together with several Kenyan organisations, and the help of the local people of northern Kenya.

The fundraising campaign for Namibia focuses on Environmental Education. The only way to assure a future for giraffe in Africa is through people. The Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) inspires young Namibians to care for their environment. Through a targeted field-based programme, KEEP provides them with the opportunity to reconnect with nature. Teaching young Namibians about their environment is essential for the conservation of giraffe and their habitat. KEEP helps to build a culture of environmental awareness by teaching social responsibility and conscientious action amongst young Africans and future leaders.

In the past, Zoos and other partners from around the world have enjoyed great success in raising awareness and funds on World Giraffe Day. This year, you can support our unique Namibian and Kenyan giraffe awareness campaigns with a tax-deductible donation.

For more information on World Giraffe Day, 21 June 2016, visit the World Giraffe Day website.

This is an exciting time for GCF. The transition certainly assures the continuation of efforts to conserve and protect these amazing animals, and we are looking forward to further elevating the conservation of them in the international arena. There are many who participate in keeping the giraffe of Africa safe and sound, and for the dedicated support of all these partners, both past and present, we are sincerely appreciative.

Thank you!

Moving forward, stay tuned for some exciting new regional GCF initiatives in East Africa, starting mid-2016. Your generous support will help us to ensure the future survival of all giraffe in Africa.