Saving the world's last West African giraffes in Niger

A giraffe stands in Niger's Giraffe Zone before it is captured.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

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

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

An formidable conservation initiative has now re-introduced 8 giraffes into the reserve, within the first conservation effort of its sort for the West African subspecies.

A giraffe is restrained before it is re-introduced to the Gadabedji Biosphere Reserve in Niger.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Underneath the initiative, spearheaded by means of the Nigerien government, the 8 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 sector’s ultimate West African giraffes had simplest been present in and close to this Giraffe Zone.

One of eight giraffes is harnessed as part of Operation Sahel Giraffe.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

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

The animals face plenty of threats, together with human inhabitants expansion, looking and agricultural encroachment.

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

Consequently, the animals have come into war with people who aren’t used to their presence, and likewise stray into restive spaces at the border with Mali.

A giraffe is secured in a truck before being transported over 800km to its new home.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

After the 8 giraffes had been captured, they had been secured with ropes and herded into trailers.

They had been then installed a retaining pen for greater than 3 weeks to arrange them for the lengthy adventure to come back.

Giraffes in an enclosure before they were transported across Niger.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

The inhabitants of giraffes has dwindled throughout Africa during the last 30 years, in step with the Giraffe Conservation Basis (GCF). In West Africa, the regional subspecies used to be as soon as commonplace in many nations, together with Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, however now simplest exists in Niger.

Within the mid-1990s there have been simplest 49 West African giraffes left within the wild. Consequently, the subspecies used to be indexed as endangered at the Global Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Crimson Checklist of Threatened Species in 2008.

Giraffes in a holding pen after they were captured in the Giraffe Zone.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Efforts by means of the federal government of Niger in collaboration with native and global companions have resulted in a resurgence of the West African giraffe.

The inhabitants has now greater to 600 and ultimate month, the subspecies used to be downgraded to prone by means of the IUCN.

Giraffes in an enclosure as they await transportation to their new home.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Since 2005, conservation efforts in Niger have additionally been reinforced by means of the GCF and the Sahara Conservation Fund, that have labored along the federal government.

Four giraffes are transported across Niger to their new home.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

After the 8 giraffes had been captured, they had been then transported greater than 800km by means of land to their new house in central Niger.

Giraffe awaiting relocation to their new home in Gadabedji Biosphere Reserve.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Conservationists imagine that the reintroduction of the 8 giraffes is a key step in creating Gadabedji as a flagship flora and fauna reserve in Niger.

Additionally they hope it’ll boost up the resurgence of the West African giraffe even additional.

The captured giraffes are pictured in their new home.Symbol copyright
GCF/Sean Viljoen

Photos from Giraffe Conservation Basis/Sean Viljoen

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