No question, they are the tallest animals on earth. Yet we still know so little about the giraffe! The Rothschild giraffe, in particular, is facing an almost silent extinction. According to Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF),
The Rothschild’s giraffe (also called the Nubian giraffe) is already extinct in Sudan and the situation in Kenya and Uganda is not optimistic. If the species is to survive, then there is urgent need for effective conservation strategies. To do this, research and conservation planning is a priority.
Now, giraffe are manly concentrated in the northern side of Murchison Falls National Park. Recent years have witnessed a number of development projects in this area — mainly oil and gas explorations —, which will certainly in the end negatively affect giraffe survival. It is for that reason that translocation is necessary in order to establish a viable, free-ranging giraffe population in the southern sector of the park.
Murchison Falls is unique for being the only national park divided by the River Nile. Along with the fact that the tall spotted giants cannot swim, translocation of these animals during Operation Twiga this past August present unique challenges. It was not an easy task to move 18 individuals across the river. The translocation team had to dart them, load them into the flatbeds of trucks, cross the Nile by a ferry, drive south into the park and finally release to their new home. Check out this video and share the joy!
The exercise cost a reasonable amount of money and required qualified staff including vets, researchers, rangers and other animal-capture experts. According to GCF directors Dr Julian Fennessy and Stephen Fennessy, “Giraffe conservation is a team effort, and we at GCF are proud to have brought so many stakeholders together for the long-term conservation of this iconic animal – we are confident that together we can continue to make a difference for giraffe in Africa.”
Among those who assisted with Operation Twiga either in person or from afar were Lewis Metzger, president of the Metzger Foundation; Ivan Carter of the Wildlife Conservation Alliance; the Association of Zoos & Aquarium (Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, Colorado State University, Columbus Zoo and Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, ELPO and Living Desert); the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA); and the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre (UWEC).
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