21 June is World Giraffe Day.
It is the longest day (or longest night) for the tallest animal in the world.
Join our journey and help them to make theirs!
When the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) initiated World Giraffe Day in 2014, the intention was to raise awareness of the giraffe’s plight in Africa and to gather support for their conservation. Ever since, we have been celebrating the tallest and most iconic animal on 21 June, the longest day (or night, depending on which hemisphere you live in) of the year.
Spearheaded by GCF, World Giraffe Day has developed into a global celebratory movement that involves local communities, African governments, conservation organisations, zoos, wildlife enthusiasts, and concerned individuals worldwide, who all join forces to advocate for the preservation of these majestic animals. World Giraffe Day is a crucial platform that highlights the challenges that giraffe face, cultivates a sense of responsibility towards their conservation, and galvanizes support for their protection.
“While celebrating with everyone, we at GCF also continue to focus on conservation actions,” says Stephanie Fennessy, Executive Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, from their base in Windhoek, Namibia. “Under the overarching theme ‘Join our journey and help them to make theirs!’, World Giraffe Day 2023 will raise awareness of and hopefully the much-needed funds for returning giraffe to their historical habitat where they can once again thrive!”
During the past decade, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, in collaboration with numerous African and international partners, has rewilded giraffe back to their former key landscapes throughout the African continent. From Uganda’s vast Pian Upe Game Reserve to Namibia’s northwest communal conservancies, and from Malawi’s Majete Wildlife Reserve to the Sahel’s Gadabedji Biosphere Reserve in Niger, GCF has been instrumental in increasing the giraffe range across the continent. New and exciting plans for 2023 include returning giraffe to their former habitats in Angola, Mozambique, Namibia and Uganda.
Only last week (11-12 June 2023) GCF, together with the Namibian Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC), moved four Angolan giraffe, which were donated by the Etosha Heights Private Reserve in central Namibia, to the Ongongo and Otjiu-West communal conservancies in northwestern Namibia. On arrival, the local community members excitedly welcomed the new giraffe and pledged their commitment to their protection.
“This operation was an amazing collaboration of many Namibian and international partners! Partnerships and collaboration are immensely important for successful conservation actions. A private landowner donated the four giraffe, with the vision of them repopulating the vast communal lands of northwest Namibia. The operation was made possible by international donations and put into action with the help of the MEFT game capture unit. When the four giraffe stepped out of the truck, seeing the joy on the local community members’ faces was incomparable!” recalls Stephanie Fennessy.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation used this rehoming operation as a training exercise for eight young African wildlife veterinarians from seven countries (Central African Republic, Ethiopia, Malawi, Namibia, Nigeria, Tanzania and Zambia). As part of a ten-day wildlife immobilization course, which was funded and organised by GCF and held at the Etosha Heights Private Reserve in collaboration with the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Namibia, these young veterinarians gained hands-on experience in giraffe immobilization, capture, and translocation as well as the immobilsation of several other wildlife species on the reserve.
World Giraffe Day serves as a reminder of our shared responsibility of protecting and preserving the majestic giants of the savanna. Also, World Giraffe Day aims to amplify the message of giraffe conservation through a robust social media campaign. By utilising the hashtags #WorldGiraffeDay2023 and #StandTallForGiraffe, people all around the world can share stories, images and videos to raise awareness, inspire action and promote the invaluable work undertaken by GCF. Through supporting the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and participating in this global event, we can make a lasting impact on the future of giraffe, ensuring that they thrive in their natural habitats for generations to come.