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For World Giraffe Day – 21 June 2015 GCF launched a targeted fundraising campaign: Operation Twiga was initiated to help save the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe in the wild. Operation Twiga was put into action in Uganda in January 2016, where 18 giraffe crossed the Nile to populate a new area within Murchison Falls National Park. This was made possible not least due to your generous support.

Operation Twiga was a joint initiative of the Uganda Wildlife Authority, Uganda Wildlife Education Centre, GCF and many other partners who actively helped with its implementation. During a three-week period, a herd of endangered Rothschild’s giraffe was translocated from the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park across the River Nile to the southern part of the Park.

We currently estimate that there are only less than 1,500 Rothschild’s giraffe remaining in the wild and at least 1,250 of these are living in the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. This high-risk scenario is exacerbated by increasing mining pressure as oil has been discovered in the core giraffe range within the Park.

GCF worked closely with the Uganda Wildlife Authority and other partners to implement this critical translocation of Rothschild’s giraffe to increase their range and create a satellite population in a new area to ensure their sustainable long-term survival.

GCF through our WGD 2015 campaign provided much needed financial support by donating a translocation truck to the Uganda Wildlife Authority, but also also provided hands-on help with the capture and translocation. As part of our commitment we brought one of Southern Africa’s top wildlife vets to Uganda to support Operation Twiga and build the capacity of Uganda’s young and eager wildlife capture team. As you can see from the images below, giraffe capture and translocation is not for sissies.

Operation Twiga was a huge success and a great example for partners from Africa and around the world coming together and working collaboratively for giraffe conservation in Africa.

For more detailed information on Operation Twiga, you can download the Operation Twiga Report January 2016.

Read also what some of our partners had to say about Operation Twiga.

Liza Dadone, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo:

It was a huge privilege to be part of such important and inspiring conservation work for giraffe and to work with vets, rangers, and researchers from around the world on this project. I loved seeing how the team grew in skills and knowledge over the two weeks with the support of GCF. But the highlight was watching the translocated giraffe unload and run free into their new home.

Tom Leiden, Leiden Conservation Foundation:

Being part of Operational Twiga was two weeks of an emotional high as I worked alongside dedicated and passionate Ugandans and people from around the world committed to conserve the Rotschild’s Giraffe for future generations. We were all overjoyed watching the giraffe run from the truck to their new home on the south side of the Nile. Operation Twiga was a huge success thanks to the Ugandan Wildlife Authority, Giraffe Conservation Foundation and other partners.

Arthur Muneza, Michigan State University:

As an East African graduate student working towards a career in wildlife conservation, Operation Twiga represented a golden opportunity for me to apply my skills acquired from classes at Michigan State University. Not only did Operation Twiga bring together experts in wildlife conservation from the East African region, but the event also gathered professionals from around the world, which presented an excellent opportunity for capacity building and networking. I look forward to future collaborations with GCF in securing the future of Africa’s Giraffe.


Join the discussion 5 Comments

  • Lucas says:

    I find it so heartwarming to read all your good work to safe this beautiful animal. That is the reason why I really want to know what I can do at home to help those creatures. I am doing a project in which I need to present ways how to improve the situation of the giraffe in Africa here in Holland. Can you please give me some help because I already know of course that I can do donations, but really want to know what else I can do to present that to the students.

    • sfennessy says:

      Hi Lucas, thank you for your kind words. You can help us spread the word on the plight of giraffe and increase awareness. You could contact your local zoo and make sure all their giraffe conservation information is up to date and maybe you could convince them to celebrate World Giraffe Day with us next year and support giraffe conservation in Africa. You can also adopt a giraffe or hold a fundraiser. Ultimately, giraffe can only be saved in Africa, so please support our important conservation efforts.