As a science-based organisation, our programmes and initiatives throughout Africa aim to provide innovative and adaptive approaches to giraffe conservation management while working with government agencies and a wide range of partners on the ground and internationally to secure a future for giraffe.
Through our Giraffe Conservation Health initiative, we are tackling these priorities from a veterinary science and conservation medicine perspective.
This initiative incorporates a wide range of aspects, such as evaluating the best immobilisation practices for giraffe, enhancing capacity building of the next generation of Africa’s wildlife veterinarians, assisting in the development of new technology for satellite tracking, best-practice methods for conservation translocations, and researching disease threats and health issues in wild giraffe populations.
Immobilising giraffe is a challenging task that many wildlife veterinarians shy away from. While their long neck and graceful legs make them one of the most iconic animals in Africa, this unique anatomy and physiology requires a true mastery of wildlife capture and immobilisation.
Giraffe immobilisations are a critical part of many of our programmes and initiatives, such as our Twiga Tracker initiative, where we learn so much more about giraffe movements and habitat use; conservation translocations (Operation Twiga), which have already expanded the giraffe range in Africa by over 11 million acres; and for the quick and effective treatment given to snared giraffe, which truly helps saving different species of giraffe in the wild.
Giraffe mortality rates from anaesthetic procedures historically have been high with some countries reporting up to 50% but generally 10%. However, with constant scientific analysis of current immobilisation practices and advanced training, this risk can be significantly reduced and brought close to zero. Working together with the foremost wildlife veterinarians and wildlife capture teams in Africa, it is our goal to further develop best practice guidelines and equip wildlife veterinary and capture teams with experience and knowledge to ensure the safety of wild giraffe.