21 Jun 2023
It is considered extinct in seven countries in Africa. It no longer exists in almost 90 per cent of its 1700s range. Only just under 30 per cent of the areas where it occurs today are protected in the form of national parks. Their total number is estimated at 117,000, which is only about a quarter of the total number of elephants. There is no doubt about it: the giraffe is not in good shape. Yet it is one of Africa's heraldic animals.
In order to draw attention to their management and to campaign for their protection, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) launched World Giraffe Day in 2014. The GCF chose 21 June as the date. This is the longest day in the northern hemisphere and the day with the longest night in the southern hemisphere.
For today's World Giraffe Day, the organisation also has good news to announce. According to the GCF press release, giraffes have been reintroduced in many areas where they were originally native over the past ten years. More reintroduction actions are planned for this year - in Uganda, Mozambique, Angola and Namibia.
One of the actions took place ten days ago in northern Namibia. Together with the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT), the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC) organisation, GCF relocated four Angolan giraffes. The animals were transported from the Etosha Heights Private Reserve, which had donated them, to the Ongongo and Otjiu-West communal conservancies in the Kunene region.
The relocation action also served to train eight young wildlife veterinarians from seven countries (Ethiopia, Nigeria, Central African Republic, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Namibia). They gained practical experience in catching, immobilising, transporting and releasing giraffes. The framework was a ten-day course on wildlife immobilisation. It was funded and organised by the GCF and took place in collaboration with the School of Veterinary Medicine of the University of Namibia at Etosha Heights Private Reserve.
On the occasion of World Giraffe Day, the organisation is giving an insight into its work tonight in Windhoek. As part of the Namibian Environment & Wildlife Society's NEWS Talks, Julian Fennessy and Michael Brown from the GCF will give a talk at the Namibia Scientific Society at 7 p.m. on the situation of the four giraffe species in the different areas of Africa and measures to protect them.
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