Masai giraffe conservation in South Luangwa National Park
Formerly known as Thornicroft’s giraffe (G. c. thornicrofti), the giraffe in Zambia’s Luangwa Valley have recently been found to be genetically identical with Masai giraffe (G. tippelskirchi). However, these giraffe are a unique and isolated giraffe population, yet their habitat is impacted by human encroachment, poaching and predation. Initial estimates of the South Luangwa Valley population suggested approx. 800 animals. Based on ongoing surveys and monitoring the population estimate is currently <600.
Concurrent with long-term predator-prey and large carnivore work, the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP) and Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) have encountered an increase in snared giraffe in the Luangwa Valley. In 2014 alone, three giraffe were immobilised for snare removals and another three giraffe had been seen with snares, but could not be found for removal. Snaring continues to be on the rise affecting multiple species.
GCF has now joined forces with these two strong local partners to support giraffe conservation efforts in South Luangwa National Park.
The Luangwa’s size, remoteness, and growing human population accompanied by inherent illegal activities such as snaring, make anti-snaring activities crucial. Trends and patterns of snaring in the region are becoming clearer and there are indications that snaring is higher in game management area’s compared to protected areas and that these activities appear to be increasing.
In addition to anti-poaching and de-snaring activities, the partnership with ZCP has developed into gaining a better understanding of giraffe numbers and their distribution across their range, and exciting initiative which GCF is excited to partner on.