A Note from the GCF Directors

What an exciting journey! When we took the plunge and decided to put all our efforts into conserving giraffe full-time, we didn’t know what to expect. And in all honesty, we still don’t…

As we learn more about giraffe – their ecology and, most importantly, their numbers and distribution – positive and negative news is often closely interlinked. Targeted conservation research teaches us new things about giraffe, and it allows us to approach their conservation differently: based on facts and knowledge rather than assumptions and hearsay. Together with our many partners around the globe, we continue to collate, analyse and share detailed information on giraffe – information which is more available than ever before. As a result, we can see that some giraffe populations are increasing significantly. Not all of these results are actual population increases, but rather more accurate assessments owing to the more detailed collation of numbers and data we have achieved. Regardless, this is a positive sign, and we believe that our combined efforts can make a difference, before it is too late.

African governments continue to show increased general interest in conservation, particularly in giraffe. And while we have well-established relationships with a few African countries (often governed by a Memorandum of Understanding), others are starting to get in touch to establish collaborations for working together to help save their giraffe. All in all, we believe that together we can ensure a bright future for giraffe in Africa – at least for some populations – and we hope that our efforts are providing an impetus for this.

It is a privilege that we could turn our passion into our occupation, and even though some people still think we are a little bit crazy, we love what we are doing. And this is largely due to all of you – our partners and supporters, and especially our small dynamic team that works throughout the continent. So, we would like to take the opportunity to say a big THANK YOU for all your support, collaboration, trust and friendship! Saving giraffe is a team effort; none of us could have done this alone. Together, we are making a difference for giraffe in Africa!

—Steph & Julian Fennessy

Reading offline? Download our 2017/18 Annual Report as a PDF

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Conservation Partners

Working with partners is at the core of GCF’s values and operational model. Over the past years we have managed to forge successful partnerships with several key conservation partners and donors. As the list is extensive and growing, it is sometimes difficult to exactly define a long-term conservation partnership, particularly as these come in many different shapes and forms, from modest monthly donations to large scale financial support and from close friendships to formalised organisational collaborations. Below, we have listed a few conservation partners that have stood out during this financial year:

Download our 2017/18 Annual Report as a PDF to see a complete list of all of our partners

Partnerships around the World

The BBC/PBS documentary ‘Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants’ continues to help us raise awareness for giraffe conservation and, at the same time, also continues to win awards. The PBS version was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Nature Documentary. As it was up against stiff competition, it did not win in the end but the nomination alone was a big win for giraffe in Africa.

In support of community-based collaborative reticulated giraffe conservation efforts in northern Kenya, we work closely with San Diego Zoo Global Institute for Conservation Research, who spearhead the programme; several Kenyan organisations (Kenya Wildlife Service, Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Namunyak Conservancy, Northern Rangeland Trust and The Nature Conservancy); and the local people of northern Kenya. In order to secure a sustainable future for these giants in the wild, a collaborative, localised and multi-pronged approach is required to stem the decline of reticulated giraffe, and to create sustainable conservation initiatives together with the people who share their living space with giraffe.

Twiga Walinzi (giraffe guards) are teams of pastoralists who conduct patrols for giraffe and manage a camera trap system to monitor wildlife in and around the Namunyak Community Conservancy and Loisaba Conservancy in northern Kenya. In addition, members of the San Diego Zoo education team, together with communities and educators from the area, are exploring whether a local giraffe conservation education programme in the region would be useful and, if so, how best to approach this.

GCF continues to engage closely with African Parks Network (APN) on giraffe conservation and management opportunities in areas where APN works throughout Africa. Together with APN, we are currently involved in projects and programmes in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi and Rwanda. GCF works closely with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to conserve giraffe in Kenya by providing financial and technical support. Our support has enabled KWS to hold two giraffe working group meetings, update the draft National Giraffe Conservation Strategy and Action Plan, and undertake DNA sample collection of all major giraffe populations in the country. Kenya is home to three of the four giraffe species, and we are working with a team from KWS to collect over 300 DNA samples from all three giraffe species to further analyse speciation and potential hybridization.

Download our 2017/18 Annual Report as a PDF to see a complete list of all of our partners

Programmes & Projects in Africa

GCF’s recent research has shown that there is not only one, but four species of giraffe. GCF is the only organisation in the world that works on conserving all four of these species. Here is a short overview of our work on these four species in 2017/18.

Northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

The three subspecies of the northern giraffe occur across Eastern and Central Africa, with the West African giraffe at the western extent of its range in Niger. Over the last year, GCF has increased its conservation and research efforts to better understand these three subspecies of northern giraffe. Of all giraffe, this species is the most threatened in the wild.

GCF has active projects working with West African giraffe, Kordofan giraffe, and Nubian giraffe via important partnerships with:

  • Sahara Conservation Fund
  • Government of Niger
  • Association for the Valorisation of the Ecotourism in Niger (AVEN)
  • Garamba National Park
  • Czech University of Life Sciences
  • Bristol Zoological Society
  • Uganda Wildlife Authority

Southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa)

The two subspecies of the southern giraffe (Angolan and South African giraffe) occur across Southern Africa. Together they make up more than 50% of the continent’s total giraffe numbers. This region’s giraffe are bucking the trend, and they provide a positive conservation story which is based on sound conservation management practices.

GCF has active projects working with Angolan giraffe, South African giraffe, Masai giraffe, and Reticulated giraffe via important partnerships with:

  • Government of Zimbabwe
  • Kavango Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area
  • Kenya Wildlife Services
  • San Diego Zoo Global
  • Northern Range Trust
Download our 2017/18 Annual Report as a PDF to read the full details of our conservation work with these partners

Get Involved, Stay Involved


Donations are the bread-and-butter of our conservation work.

Your donations directly contribute to our ability to ensure a sustainable future for giraffe in Africa.

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Giraffe Adoptions give you a personal connection to GCF’s work.

Much like donations, adoptions directly fund our conservation work.

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By buying official GCF gear, you’re supporting our work in two ways:

  1. You are literally wearing the message to help spread the word about giraffe endangerment.
  2. Funds from each purchase directly support our conservation work in Africa.
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