Masai Giraffe Conservation Programme
With approx. 32,000 individuals remaining in the wild, Masai giraffe (Giraffa tippelskirchi) are one of the most populous giraffe in Africa. However, only three decades ago Masai giraffe were estimated at double this number in the wild and population numbers continue to decline. Most commonly found in southern Kenya, and throughout Tanzania, this species faces many urgent threats throughout its range.
One of the greatest threats to Masai giraffe is the rapid expansion of human populations and settlements. As recent examples in Kenya, parts of Nairobi National Park have been set aside for the expansion of a bypass road, a proposed railway is threatening to dissect the park, and more agricultural land is cropping up in and around the Masai Mara Game Reserve and Amboseli National Park. The proposed highway traversing the Serengeti is only one of many threats to giraffe and other wildlife in Tanzania. These developments gradually fragment and reduce the habitat for giraffe in the region and increase the chances for human-wildlife conflict, in particular illegal hunting.
Despite these increasing threats, management of giraffe populations in the region is limited, as manifested in the drastic decline of Masai giraffe numbers over the past three decades. GCF is working closely with partners on all levels do better understand giraffe populations numbers, their threats and reasons for decline. Bringing partners together and giving giraffe a space on national and regional conservation agendas is vital for securing their future in the region. Based on these collaborative efforts, specific conservation action plans can be developed. The Kenyan National Giraffe Conservation Strategy as developed in close collaboration with the Kenya Wildlife Service is a great starting point and its implementation, supported by GCF and partners, will guide and support giraffe conservation efforts in the country as well as transboundary to Tanzania.