Giraffe numbers and their distribution in Ethiopia are largely unknown.
It is assumed that two species occur in the country: Reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata) in the south east, and Nubian giraffe (G. camelopardalis camelopardalis) in the west and south-west.
In order to learn more about their distribution and population numbers across the country, GCF joined forces with African Parks Network and Addis Ababa University. Field conservation efforts are critical to help determine where exactly and how many giraffe occur in the country, especially in the country’s south.
Nubian giraffe occur Gambella National Park, in the far West of Ethiopia at the border with South Sudan. The area is difficult to access with a limited road network and virtually no roads at all in the giraffe range. Insurgents frequently cross the border from South Sudan and render the area unsafe. So far, GCF in collaboration with African Parks Network fitted GPS satellite units to several giraffe in the area to learn more about their movements, while at the same time learning more about their numbers.
Preliminary data showed that the giraffe range only overlapped peripherally with the existing park borders (no physical boundaries limit movement and the park only exists on paper). Based on this information the Ethiopian Wildlife Conservation Authority was advised to consider expanding the virtual park boundaries to include areas frequently used by giraffe as no human population occupies this area. Gambella has the potential to be one of Africa’s great national parks as it teams with wildlife and supports transboundary wildlife movements with South Sudan. Future efforts in the park will hopefully involve giraffe conservation and management actions.