It is hard to believe that it is already November and before we know it, the festive season will be upon us. As always, there is lots to report in the giraffe conservation world – and this is just the tip of the iceberg: you would be bored reading about ALL our projects and programmes. Instead of reading about it, you will be able to see our teams in action on CNN International in December – see below for more details. Giraffe baby news is always exciting – in particular when it is the first birth in a newly established population.
So, while we prepare for a last conservation sprint in 2022 and plan for an even more effective 2023, have a read of this update.
What is new?
Expanding our reach in Africa
Our Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) in Namibia was inspired by the drive to make a difference and open the eyes and minds of a few young Namibians to the beauty and uniqueness of their home country. This simple idea evolved into what is today the largest environmental education programme in the country with regards to participation numbers. Since the humble beginnings in 2016, our amazing KEEP team has hosted over 14,000 Namibian children for a fun and educational day in the field. While last-minute cancellations or group no-shows were a problem in the beginning, we now struggle to manage the waiting list. In particular, since the success of the fantastic EE videos our team produced during COVID-19 lockdowns and school closures, the KEEP team is always busy taking school groups during term time and and children from orphanages and children’s homes to a nature reserve close to Windhoek to learn more about their local environment.
On the back of our successful EE programme in Namibia, we are working with several partners in other parts of Africa to support community outreach and environmental education. In Kenya, we are proud to partner with TonyWild to support their environmental education programmes. With their team, a group of young Kenyan children recently had the chance to experience nature first-hand during a visit to Ruma National Park, learn about giraffe and get a first, hands-on, introduction to conservation photography. We are excited to see that our GCF Nature Workbook is put to good use throughout the continent.
Giraffe populations continue to grow!
We are always excited to share positive news and there is some great news from Garamba National Park (NP) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Garamba NP is home to the last remaining population of critically endangered Kordofan giraffe in the DRC. Under the management of our partner African Parks, things are looking up and the giraffe monitoring team has recently confirmed that there are now over 70 giraffe in the park. That is a fantastic recovery from the low of 22 giraffe in 2012. What wonderful news for this small but vital population of Kordofan giraffe that gives us hope for their future.
In Uganda, we are delighted to report the first giraffe birth in Pian Upe Game Reserve! Three years after we brought a small population of critically endangered Nubian giraffe back to this reserve in collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority, this is a great indicator of success and shows that giraffe are thriving in their new home.
What happens when we are not around?
While we learn a lot from in-person observations in the field and from tracking giraffe online with the help of GPS satellite trackers, we remain curious to see what happens when we aren’t around. Camera traps are an important tool for conservation and give us many insights, however, at times it can be difficult to ensure that they survive the attention of the animals they are meant to monitor.
We are in the process of setting up a network of camera traps on Etosha Heights Private Reserve for our new Savannah Landscape Ecological and Education Centre (SLEEC) in collaboration with the Namibia University of Science & Technology. Etosha Heights has rewilded over 60,000 hectares of degraded farmland to a haven for wildlife adjacent to the iconic Etosha National Park in Namibia. These cameras will help with monitoring the wildlife (including giraffe) in the greater Etosha landscape.
While our team have been busy ensuring the cameras are secure, this elephant got involved in camouflaging one of the camera poles! The new cameras have already captured some fantastic images, but see for yourself!
Filming with CNN
During a recent tagging trip in Northwest Namibia the GCF team was joined by a CNN film crew. GCF will be featured in an episode of CNN International’s Inside Africa, a weekly award-winning show that takes viewers on a journey through Africa and highlights the true diversity of the continent. The episode is scheduled to air on 10 December 2022. Stay tuned for more info and check our social media for a link to the feature.