GiraffeConservation.org https://giraffeconservation.org Official Site of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation Trust of Namibia Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:32:21 +0000 en-AU hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.1 https://giraffeconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/cropped-gcf_white-32x32.png GiraffeConservation.org https://giraffeconservation.org 32 32 IUCN Red List confirms: Giraffe are under threat https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/12/08/iucnredlist-giraffe-vulnerable/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/12/08/iucnredlist-giraffe-vulnerable/#comments Thu, 08 Dec 2016 04:08:34 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=5540 The iconic giraffe, one of the world's most recognisable animals and the tallest land mammal, has moved from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ in the newly released International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa, new population surveys estimate an overall decline of up to 40% in the global giraffe population over the last 30 years.

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The iconic giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), one of the world’s most recognisable animals and the tallest land mammal, has moved from ‘Least Concern’ to ‘Vulnerable’ in the newly released International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. Widespread across southern and eastern Africa, with smaller isolated populations in west and central Africa, new population surveys estimate an overall 36-40% decline in the giraffe population from approximately 151,702-163,452 in 1985 to 97,562 in 2015. Of the nine currently recognised subspecies of giraffe, five have decreasing populations, whilst three are increasing and one is stable. This updated assessment of giraffe as a species was undertaken by the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group (GOSG), hosted by Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and Zoological Society of London (ZSL).

Whilst giraffe are commonly seen on safari, in the media and in zoos, people – including conservationists – are unaware that these majestic animals are undergoing a silent extinction. With a decline of almost 40% in the last three decades alone, the world’s tallest animal is under severe pressure in some of its core ranges across East, Central and West Africa. As one of the world’s most iconic animals, it is timely that we stick our necks out for giraffe before it is too late,” says Dr. Julian Fennessy, co-chair of the IUCN SSC GOSG, and Director of GCF.

Recent genetic-based research by GCF, Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Change Research Centre and other partners, suggests that there are four distinct species of giraffe instead of only one, however, the IUCN currently only recognises giraffe as one species. Should these new genetic findings be confirmed and become widely accepted, this would likely result in three of the four giraffe species being listed as under considerable threat on the IUCN Red List. Taxonomy is just one of many gaps that still exist in our overall understanding of giraffe and highlights that they are indeed Africa’s forgotten megafauna.

Human population growth poses the largest threat to giraffe in Africa today. Habitat loss and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, illegal hunting, increasing human-wildlife conflict, as well as civil unrest, are all factors that are pushing giraffe towards extinction.

However, with GCF giraffe have a strong advocate. During this year alone, GCF and its partners have supported and collaborated on many critical giraffe conservation initiatives including Operation Twiga, a Uganda Wildlife Authority effort to translocate and establish new ranges for the endangered Rothschild’s giraffe in Uganda; a detailed assessment of range and numbers of West African giraffe in collaboration with the Niger government and AVEN; development of an Africa-wide Framework Strategy for giraffe conservation in Africa; and the ongoing development of National Giraffe Conservation Country Profiles for all giraffe range states, which have provided an invaluable baseline for the development of this new IUCN Red Listing.

Steph Fennessy, Director of GCF, points out that “while GCF is a small organisation, we are increasing our reach, working with partners throughout Africa to enhance giraffe conservation on the ground, while at the same time collaborating with partners internationally to rally support and awareness for giraffe, which will ultimately help to save them in the wild in Africa.”

At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September this year Resolution 008 – Giraffids: reversing the decline of Africa’s iconic megafauna was adopted by the members and called for action to reverse the decline of giraffe in the wild.

Contact us for further information.

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Poster: Kenya’s Giraffe – Conservation Guide https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/10/05/poster-kenyas-giraffe-conservation-guide/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/10/05/poster-kenyas-giraffe-conservation-guide/#respond Wed, 05 Oct 2016 09:27:37 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=4173 Kenya can be considered a giraffe 'hotspot', with three of the now four distinct giraffe species occurring in the country: reticulated, Masai and Nubian giraffe. It was about time to develop a dedicated giraffe conservation poster for Kenya. Find out more about giraffe range, their numbers, habitat, local history as well as threats by downloading our new poster "Kenya's Giraffe - Conservation Guide".

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Kenya can be considered a giraffe ‘hotspot’, with three of the now four distinct giraffe species occurring in the country. Reticulated giraffe roam northern and eastern Kenya; Masai giraffe inhabit the savanna and woodlands of southern Kenya; and Nubian giraffe (formerly Rothschild’s giraffe), which has been reduced to to several fragmented populations, occurs in western and central Kenya.

Find out more about Kenya’s giraffe populations by downloading the poster here:  Kenya’s Giraffe – Conservation Guide

Contact us for a high resolution version for printing.

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Genetic Analysis Uncovers Four Species of Giraffe, Not Just One https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/09/08/genetic-analysis-uncovers-four-species-giraffe-not-just-one/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/09/08/genetic-analysis-uncovers-four-species-giraffe-not-just-one/#comments Thu, 08 Sep 2016 17:46:08 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=3469 Do you know how many different kinds of giraffe there are? Up until now, everyone thought there was a single species of giraffe made up of several subspecies. But, according to the most inclusive genetic analysis of giraffe relationships to date, giraffe actually are not one species, but four. For comparison, the genetic differences among giraffe species are at least as great as those between polar and brown bears.

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Up until now, scientists and the world had only recognised a single species of giraffe made up of several subspecies. But, according to the most inclusive genetic analysis of giraffe relationships to date, giraffe actually are not one species, but four. For comparison, the genetic differences among giraffe species are at least as great as those between polar and brown bears.

The unexpected findings reported in Current Biology on 8 September 2016 highlights the urgent need for further and in-depth study of the four genetically isolated species and for greater conservation efforts for the world’s tallest mammal, the researchers say.

“We were extremely surprised, because the morphological and coat pattern differences between giraffe are limited,” says Dr. Axel Janke, a geneticist at the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre and Goethe University in Germany. “Giraffe are also assumed to have similar ecological requirements across their range”, he added, “but no one really knows, because this megafauna has been largely overlooked by science.”

Giraffe are in dramatic decline across their range in Africa. Their numbers have dropped substantially over the last three decades, from more than 150,000 individuals to fewer than 100,000. Despite that, the researchers say that there has been relatively little research done on giraffe in comparison to other large animals, such as elephants, rhinoceroses, gorillas, and lions.

About five years ago, Dr. Julian Fennessy of Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) based in Namibia approached Dr. Janke to assist with genetic testing of the giraffe. Dr. Fennessy wanted to know how similar (or not) giraffe living in different parts of Africa were to each other, whether past translocations of giraffe individuals had inadvertently “mixed” different species or subspecies, and, if so, what should be done in future translocations of giraffes into parks or other protected areas.

In the new study, the collaborative research team examined the DNA evidence taken from skin biopsies of 190 giraffe collected by Dr. Fennessy and partners all across Africa, including regions of civil unrest. The extensive sampling includes populations from all nine previously recognised giraffe subspecies.

The genetic analysis shows that there are four highly distinct groups of giraffe, which apparently do not mate with each other in the wild. As a result, they say, giraffe should be recognised as four distinct species. Those four species include (1) northern giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis), (2) southern giraffe (Giraffa giraffa), (3) reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata), and (4) Masai giraffe (Giraffa tippelskirchi). Both southern and northern giraffe have two and three distinct subspecies respectively: Angolan (G. g. angolensis) and South African giraffe (G. g. giraffa) for southern giraffe, and Kordofan (G. c. antiquorum), Nubian (G. c. camelopardalis) and West African giraffe (G. c. peralta) for northern giraffe. The latter includes the elusive Nubian giraffe from Ethiopia and the South Sudan region – samples collected collaboratively with African Parks Network and Wildlife Conservation Society, which was the first described some 300 years ago and is the nominate species, Dr. Fennessy says.

The discovery has significant conservation implications, the researchers say, noting that the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) Species Survival Commission (SSC) Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group recently submitted an updated proposed assessment of the giraffe for the IUCN Red List (still under review by IUCN) taking into consideration their rapid decline over the last 30 years.

“With now four distinct species, the conservation status of each of these can be better defined and in turn hopefully added to the IUCN Red List in time.” Dr. Fennessy says. “Working collaboratively with African governments, the continued support of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and partners can highlight the importance of each of these dwindling species, and hopefully kick start targeted conservation efforts and internal donor support for their increased protection.

“As an example,” he adds, “northern giraffe number less than 4,750 individuals in the wild, and reticulated giraffe number less than 8,700 individuals—as distinct species, it makes them some of the most endangered large mammals in the world and require doubling of protection efforts to secure these populations.

The conservation implications from this work are immense and our findings will hopefully help put giraffe conservation on the global map. It is important to note that in addition to this work GCF has monitored the decline of giraffe populations throughout Africa as well as the continued and increasing threats they face. Based on a combination of all these findings we are increasing our support on the conservation of targeted giraffe species and populations and need your support to make this a reality.” says Dr Fennessy.

Drs. Janke and Fennessy say that they are now analysing the amount of gene flow between the giraffe species in greater detail. In addition to expanding the ecological and species distribution data, they want to better understand the factors that limit gene flow and the giraffes’ differentiation into four species and several subspecies.

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This study was supported by the State of Hesse’s funding program LOEWE, the Leibniz Association, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Leiden Conservation Foundation, Auckland Zoo, and various African government partners and international supporters.

Current Biology, Fennessy et al.: “Multi-locus Analyses Reveal Four Giraffe Species Instead of One”.

This press release is adapted from Cell Press Release by Joseph Caputo. Featured image by Billy Dodson.

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GCF News – August 2016 https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/08/25/gcf-news-august-2016/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/08/25/gcf-news-august-2016/#respond Thu, 25 Aug 2016 21:04:48 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=3427 Read the latest GCF news and updates on our giraffe conservation efforts across Africa. How did WGD 2016 go? When will the documentary 'Giraffes: Africa's Gentle Giants' finally be shown in the USA? How can you make a difference and support giraffe conservation in Africa in a fun way? Open these GCF News - August 2016 to find answers to all these questions!

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World Giraffe Day 2016 – What A Success for Giraffe Conservation!

WGD_2016-03182016_2World Giraffe Day (WGD) is an exciting annual event initiated by GCF to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year! After last year’s successful campaign for Operation Twiga (which implementation is shown in the BBC documentary narrated by Sir David Attenborough – Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants – read more below), this year with all your help we raised support and awareness for reticulated giraffe conservation in Kenya as well as environmental education in Namibia.

Your support has again been amazing! Countless zoos and organisations around the world have helped us to get the giraffe conservation message out and raise important funding for projects on the ground. This year, the Leiden Conservation Foundation offered to match all new donations above US$1,000 received in the USA dollar-for-dollar up to a total of US$25,000. We are very excited to announce that we have reached this goal. A special thank you goes to all new WGD donors and Leiden Conservation Foundation!

We are now working with our partners in Kenya, including Kenya Wildlife Service, San Diego Zoo Global, Namunyak Wildlife Conservation Trust, Northern Rangeland Trust and more, to increase the protection of reticulated giraffe. We are slowly getting a better idea of the numbers and distribution of these iconic giraffe and work closely with Kenyans to secure a future for reticulated giraffe in the wild.

At the same time, the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) in Namibia goes from strength to strength. Since January we have already taken 1,000 grade 3 and 4 students from Namibia’s Khomas Region into the field for a day. The kids have an amazing day with much fun and laughter while at the same time learning so much. All feedback has been positive – actually, the only complaint is that the day is too short and that the same kids won’t be back next year, but rather the next grade from their school. While the programme does not solely focus on giraffe, these amazing animals are used as examples and our character ‘Lopie the giraffe’ guides the kids through the day and has many wise things to say. Thanks to your support we will be able to continue doing environmental education in Namibia. Find out more about KEEP and read the most recent update report.

Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants

truckAfter our giraffe documentary premiered successfully on BBC Two-Natural World in June in the UK, we can now finally announce a date for the USA. Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants will be shown on WNET(PBS) on 26 October 2016, time TBC. This amazing co-production of BBC and PBS showcases GCF’ collaborative work across Africa and is narrated by Sir David Attenborough. Following the UK screening, we received a lot of positive feedback and are proud to have inspired quite a few people. Our main aim when agreeing to get involved in the documentary was to draw attention to the plight of giraffe and share our important giraffe conservation message with a wider audience: Giraffe are in danger, but we can still do something about it! Let’s all work together to secure a future for giraffe in Africa. Read more about this exciting documentary and make sure to tune in on 26 October on WNET(PBS)!

Adopt-a-Giraffe

adopt a giraffe logoAre you looking for an easy yet valuable way to support giraffe conservation in Africa? Maybe you are looking for a unique present for a special person? From only US$50 you can adopt a giraffe and support giraffe conservation in Africa!

GCF is seeking support for its long-term giraffe conservation programme in north-western Namibia and by becoming a Giraffe Explorer or a Giraffe Guardian you can help us save giraffe in Africa. Read more about our Adopt-a-Giraffe programme and become a Giraffe Explorer or Giraffe Guardian yourself.

Call for contributions for Giraffid Vol 10(1) 2016

If you have any interesting giraffid stories to share, please send us your contributions for Giraffid Vol 10(1) 2016 – the newsletter of the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group (GOSG) and the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). Have a look here for previous issues of Giraffid for inspiration.

Please send your stories to info@giraffeconservation.org by 9 September 2016.

If you want to hear from us per email, sign up to our updates at the bottom of this page.

Featured image by Farid Abdin.

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Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/06/16/giraffes-africas-gentle-giants/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/06/16/giraffes-africas-gentle-giants/#comments Thu, 16 Jun 2016 20:14:15 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=2764 Everyone loves giraffe, but what do we really know about them? We at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation were lucky to have a team from BBC Natural World/PBS follow some of our activities over the past year to show our story through their lens. Have a look here for a sneak preview of this BBC Two-Natural World & PBS co-production, narrated by Sir David Attenborough (UK version).

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a BBC Two-Natural World & PBS co-production, narrated by Sir David Attenborough (UK version)

Wednesday, 26 October 2016 at 8pm (ET) on PBS (check local listing)

Everyone loves giraffe, but what do we really know about them?

BBC crewWe at the Giraffe Conservation Foundation were lucky to have a team from BBC Natural World/PBS follow some of our activities over the past year to show our story through their lens. They captured stunning images of giraffe in amazing locations and documented the efforts of passionate people to save giraffe across the African continent. However, there is one key message we want to get across with this documentary: giraffe numbers are dwindling – they are literally disappearing before our eyes.

In an urgent and daring mission, with a determined Ugandan team, we caught and moved 18 of the world’s rarest giraffe – Endangered Rothschild’s giraffe – across and beyond the mighty Nile River. The stakes were high, but the rewards will be a brighter future for an animal the world has somewhat overlooked.

This new and exciting documentary highlights the work of GCF and our many partners in Ethiopia, Namibia and Uganda in an effort to better understand what is happening with the dwindling giraffe populations across Africa and how to curb this alarming trend.

It is not too late, but it is time to act NOW to save giraffe and make sure our children and their children can still see these gentle giants in the wild!

Exclusive Namibian Premiere on 30 September (15:00 & 19:30) and 1 October (14:00, 16:00 & 18:00) at the Franco-Namibian Cultural Centre.

Web

For a sneak preview, watch this trailer:

(If you have problems viewing the trailer below or want to see more, visit the BBC Two Natural World website.)

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WGD 2016 & Photo Competition https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/04/20/wgd-2016/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/04/20/wgd-2016/#comments Wed, 20 Apr 2016 10:40:48 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=1066 We are excited to launch our new campaign for World Giraffe Day – 21 June 2016. This year we are raising funds and awareness for two exciting conservation projects in Kenya and Namibia. At the same time, we are launching a photo competition to draw awareness to the plight of our favourite animal.

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WGD_2016-03182016_1After an amazing World Giraffe Day 2015 with Operation Twiga and the successful movement of endangered Rothschild’s giraffe into a new area in Uganda, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) is excited to launch a new campaign for World Giraffe Day, 21 June 2016Putting people at the centre of giraffe conservation.

With less than 90,000 giraffe remaining in the wild, it is time to act NOW. It is imperative that we secure a future for all giraffe in Africa. Depending where you are in the world, World Giraffe Day (WGD) will celebrate the world’s tallest animal on the longest day and the longest night of the year (the summer and winter solstice).

WGD 2016 Photo Competition

To increase awareness for giraffe conservation we are excited to announce a Photo Competition for WGD 2016. Submit your most amazing giraffe shots to photo@giraffeconservation.org or through the GCF or WGD Facebook page before 22 June 2016 and stand a chance to win one of two GCF merchandise packs. Our panel of judges is made up of professional wildlife photographers and conservationists from Namibia and they will select the winning image as well as a popular choice award that can be voted for through Facebook. A maximum two photo entries per person are allowed and photos should be submitted together with your name, email address, country of residence, location where the photo was taken and a photo title/caption. You can download more information and the terms and conditions of the WGD 2016 Photo Competition here: GCF World Giraffe Day 2016 Photo Competition Terms and Conditions

The photo competition is now closed and we are excited to announce the winner (jury choice), winner (popular choice) and 4 runners-up:

Hashtag on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram: #Savegiraffe #WGD2016

WGD 2016 – Putting people at the centre of giraffe conservation

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.

Kenya

The WGD 2016 fundraising campaign will help protect reticulated giraffe in the northern part of Kenya. 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.

Namibia

Conservation happens by connecting to our environment and the only way to assure a future for giraffe in Africa is through people. We at GCF believe that Environmental Education at an early age is the key. The Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) aims to inspires young Namibians to care for their environment. Through a targeted hands-on 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.

You can support these important, innovative and unique giraffe conservation efforts by helping us to raise much-needed funds on World Giraffe Day 2016.

How would your support help? Here are some examples:

  • US$15 could support an exciting and interactive day in the bush for a Namibian student
  • US$25 could pay for batteries for GPS equipment to monitor giraffe and their movements in the wild
  • US$50 could provide KEEP workbooks and certificates for an entire school class
  • US$100 could provide a healthy lunch for an entire school class during their field outing or pay for a pair of binoculars to monitor giraffe and their movements
  • US$250 could provide transport for a school class to spend a day in the bush with KEEP or pay a month’s salary of a local Kenyan field ranger to monitor giraffe and their movements
  • US$300 could pay for a camera trap including batteries and SD cards to monitor giraffe and their movements in the wild
  • US$1,000 could support fitting a GPS satellite collar to a reticulated giraffe in northern Kenya
  • US$2,500 could pay for one GPS satellite collar to monitor reticulated giraffe movements remotely including download time

In the past, zoos and other partners from around the world have enjoyed great success in raising awareness and funds on World Giraffe Day. Please dig deep and help us to ensure a future for all giraffe in Africa. GCF’s VIP Partner Leiden Conservation Foundation will again champion our WGD efforts and has committed to matching all new donations from US$1,000 received in the USA dollar-for-dollar up to a total of US$25,000. Who is next to stick their neck out for saving giraffe in Africa?

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Rothschild’s giraffe birth at Murchison Falls National Park https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/04/03/872/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/04/03/872/#comments Sun, 03 Apr 2016 08:06:37 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=872 What started out as a normal day of surveying endangered Rothschild's giraffe in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, should become one of the most amazing field days so far - but see for yourself.

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What started out as a normal day of surveying endangered Rothschild’s giraffe in Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda, should become one of the most amazing field days so far – but see for yourself.

Michael Brown, GCF and Dartmouth College PhD student could hardly believe his eyes:

We just wrapped up surveys this afternoon with a rather eventful day. In addition to photographing loads of giraffe, we were also fortunate enough to witness a giraffe birth. It was a pretty special occasion!

Click to view slideshow.

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Operation Twiga in action https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/03/15/operation-twiga-in-action/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/03/15/operation-twiga-in-action/#comments Tue, 15 Mar 2016 10:00:54 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=116 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.

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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.

 

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KEEP on the go! https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/03/15/keep-on-the-go/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/03/15/keep-on-the-go/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 09:58:04 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=1036 After months of programme development, preparation and trial runs the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) is finally up and running: 160 kids joined us for a morning of hands-on environmental learning and bushveld fun.

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kids watching wildebeest2After months of programme development, preparation and trial runs the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP) is finally up and running: the first ‘official’ group of a total of 160 kids enjoyed a morning of bushveld fun. Suiderhof Primary School from Windhoek was the first school to send their four grade 3 classes with around 40 kids each for a day of hands-on environmental learning.

For four days, Daan Viljoen Game Reserve was turned into an outdoor classroom. The fun-filled morning started off with a tracking and animal identification session. The kids detected spoors (tracks) from kudu to warthog, oryx to zebra and even a few giraffe. A few kids were even convinced that they had found elephant and lion spoor, luckily not – but the fresh leopard tracks caused a lot of excitement.

“I liked the tracking of the animals!”

The 3.5km hike takes the young eco heroes on a mini adventure through tall grass and over weathered rock where they learn that everything, big and small, living and non-living, is important and has a place in the ecosystem. Yes, even grasshoppers and corn crickets (which seem to get the most screams). Did you know, nature recycles?! From burrows, to dead grass for nests! What about being water wise?! Giraffe obtain almost all of their water needs through their food! There are so many lessons we can learn if we take the time to get to know the creatures around us! And that’s what KEEP is all about!

“My favourite part was when the wildebeest came down the mountain.”

Provided we all used our ‘bushveld voices’ (including the teachers!) the students got to see the wonderful variety of animals that live in the reserve, from big wildebeest herds running across the path and baboons keeping a watchful eye from tree tops, to a zebra herd snorting in alarm from the mountain side, and a few giraffe in the far distance. A first for many of the kids.

On their way we discussed important and very relevant topics such as litter, waste, pollution and last but definitely not least, water. Identified as Namibia’s biggest environmental problem, ideas on how to save water were explored.

The students quickly got the hang of the idea that we are all connected and that all living things have the same basic needs to survive (even us humans). Later we found a large tree for shade and the kids built an ‘eco pyramid’ which showed what happens when we over-use, waste and pollute. In a nutshell, as one child put it:

“If we cut down all our trees and don’t plant any more, animals won’t have food to eat and humans won’t have any more oxygen.”

Did you know that it takes about 1 second to say hello to 1 person (go ahead check, say hello), and if you were to say hello to every person on the planet (just over 7 billion) it would take you 222 years! The students all agreed 7 billion people is a lot of people. They also agreed that if all living things need to share and if there is going to be enough to go around then something needs to change! This is a huge concept for kids to grasp but using nature as the teacher they better understood their role in making that change. A proud moment for the facilitators and a proud moment for KEEP.

Of course, no ‘class’ is complete without homework and the students (and teachers) were asked to go away with all their new skills and think about how they could take action and make a difference in their school, homes, communities and country.

So, why do we do this? Why does KEEP even exist? Because conservation can only happen when we connect with our environment. KEEP provides that opportunity which otherwise might not exist for many of the Namibia’s children.

Our aim is to inspire kids to care with the understanding that we are all connected. What we do to nature, we do to ourselves.

“My favourite part was everything!”

A big thank you goes to the students and teachers of Suiderhof Primary School, for not only being inspiring and energetic but also for their contribution towards KEEP helping to ensure we can continue to bring environmental education to the students of the Khomas Region.

Thank you also for the generous support from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Auckland Zoo, Blank Park Zoo, Columbus Zoo, GEF SGP Namibia, Grant Thornton Neuhaus, Hollard, Leiden Conservation Foundation, NaDEET, NEEN, Omaruru Beverages, Pupkewitz Foundation, Sun Karoos, Typoprint, and Woodland Park Zoo.

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Poster: Namibia’s Giraffe – Conservation Guide https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/03/15/namibias-giraf/ https://giraffeconservation.org/2016/03/15/namibias-giraf/#respond Tue, 15 Mar 2016 09:54:14 +0000 https://giraffeconservation.org/?p=495 Based on our recent detailed assessment of giraffe numbers and their distribution in Namibia, we now estimate that there are approx. 12,000 Angolan giraffe in Namibia as well as 100 South African giraffe. Giraffe are widely distributed across the country and occur on private and communal land as well as in national parks. Learn more about our findings in our latest poster ‘Namibia’s Giraffe - A Conservation Guide’.

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With the support of Namibia’s GoGreen Fund, we undertook a more detailed assessment of giraffe numbers and their distribution in Namibia. We now estimate that there are approx. 12,000 Angolan giraffe in Namibia as well as 100 South African giraffe. Giraffe are widely distributed across the country and occur on private and communal land as well as in national parks.

This poster outlines our findings, details giraffe numbers and their distribution per region and land use, identifies threats to giraffe conservation and summarises the Namibian giraffe conservation success story.

Download the poster here:  Namibia’s Giraffe – Conservation Guide

Contact us for a high resolution version for printing!

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