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Science/Nature

Saving the world’s last West African giraffes in Niger


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GCF/Sean Viljoen

For nearly 50 years, the extremely threatened West African giraffe has been absent from Niger’s Gadabedji Biosphere Reserve.

Unlawful searching, local weather change and habitat loss have all contributed to the inhabitants’s decline.

An formidable conservation initiative has now re-introduced eight giraffes into the reserve, within the first conservation effort of its form for the West African subspecies.

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GCF/Sean Viljoen

Underneath the initiative, spearheaded by the Nigerien authorities, the eight giraffes had been captured within the nation’s Giraffe Zone, a government-defined area roughly 60km (37 miles) south-east of the capital, Niamey.

Till this transfer, the world’s final West African giraffes had solely been present in and close to this Giraffe Zone.

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GCF/Sean Viljoen

There, West African giraffes share their habitat with native communities, and compete with them for house and pure sources.

The animals face a lot of threats, together with human inhabitants progress, searching and agricultural encroachment.

Giraffes have now began emigrate out of the Giraffe Zone because of the rising inhabitants of each people and giraffes themselves.

Consequently, the animals have come into battle with people who aren’t used to their presence, and in addition stray into restive areas on the border with Mali.

Picture copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

After the eight giraffes had been captured, they had been secured with ropes and herded into trailers.

They had been then put in a holding pen for greater than three weeks to arrange them for the lengthy journey to return.

Picture copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

The inhabitants of giraffes has dwindled throughout Africa over the previous 30 years, in response to the Giraffe Conservation Basis (GCF). In West Africa, the regional subspecies was as soon as widespread in lots of nations, together with Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, however now solely exists in Niger.

Within the mid-1990s there have been solely 49 West African giraffes left within the wild. Consequently, the subspecies was listed as endangered on the Worldwide Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Pink Checklist of Threatened Species in 2008.

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GCF/Sean Viljoen

Efforts by the federal government of Niger in collaboration with native and worldwide companions have led to a resurgence of the West African giraffe.

The inhabitants has now elevated to 600 and final month, the subspecies was downgraded to susceptible by the IUCN.

Picture copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Since 2005, conservation efforts in Niger have additionally been bolstered by the GCF and the Sahara Conservation Fund, which have labored alongside the federal government.

Picture copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

After the eight giraffes had been captured, they had been then transported greater than 800km by land to their new dwelling in central Niger.

Picture copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Conservationists imagine that the reintroduction of the eight giraffes is a key step in creating Gadabedji as a flagship wildlife reserve in Niger.

In addition they hope it can speed up the resurgence of the West African giraffe even additional.

Picture copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Footage from Giraffe Conservation Basis/Sean Viljoen



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