A DEVASTATING DECLINE …
Few people realise the extent to which giraffe populations are declining. In 2015 the world’s tallest land mammal moved from “Least Concern” to “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, with estimates of a 40% overall decline of giraffe populations since 1985. Of the nine currently recognised sub-species of giraffe five sub-species are decreasing.
There are two subspecies of Giraffe at Yorkshire Wildlife park, two Reticulated Giraffe, one endangered Rothschild’s Giraffe and one hybrid. Rothschild’s giraffe like Yorkshire Wildlife Park’s Jambo are endangered, with less than 1,100 left in East Africa. To put this into perspective, there are approximately 5,000 Reticulated giraffes like Palle and Jengo left in the wild.
Currently the IUCN only recognise the giraffe as one species, however recent research by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and the Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Change Research Centre have found that there may be four different species of giraffe instead of one. Should the new genetic findings be confirmed and accepted, this would mean three out of the four species being listed as under considerable threat on the IUCN Red List.
THE SILENT EXTINCTION
Affected by: Habitat Loss, Hunting, Human Conflict & Mining
Overall, human population growth poses the greatest threat to giraffe populations today.
Habitat loss, expanding industry and agriculture, hunting, human conflict and other human factors are pushing this magnificent animal to a silent extinction.
WHAT WE’RE DOING!
Yorkshire Wildlife Park Foundation are regular supporters of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). GCF is the only NGO in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffe in the wild across Africa. Dedicated to a sustainable future for all giraffe populations in the wild, GCF’s objective is to raise awareness for, provide support to and secure a future for giraffe and conserve their habitat in Africa.
YWPF supported a major relocation project, named Operation Twiga. This project was put into action in Uganda in January 2016, where 18 giraffe crossed the Nile to populate a new area within Murchison Falls National Park.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation currently estimate that there are less than 1,500 Rothschild’s giraffe left in the wild, at least 1,250 of these Giraffe are living in the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda. Rothschild’s giraffe’s habitat in Murchison Falls National Park is under threat, due to increasing mining pressure, as oil has been discovered in the core Giraffe range.
The translocation of Rothschild’s giraffe was critical to increase their range and create a satellite population in a new area to ensure their sustainable long-term survival. Operation Twiga was a huge success and a great example of how partners across the world can come together for giraffe conservation in Africa.