09.12.2018
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Rescue of a rare giraffe species in Africa

Eight West African giraffes have been transferred to the Gadabedja protected area in Niger

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Until now, there were no giraffes from West Africa in the Gadabedji biosphere reserve in Niger. These animals still need protection. Illegal hunting, climate change and habitat loss all contributed to the decline in population size. According to the Nigerian publication, eight giraffes were moved to the reserve, this is the first such case for the West African subspecies.  

Биосферный заповедник Гадабеджи (Нигер)
Биосферный заповедник Гадабеджи (Нигер)

In accordance with the initiative of the Nigerian authorities, eight giraffes were caught approximately 60 km south-east of the city of Niamey. There, these animals share their habitat with local communities and compete with humans for natural resources. Often, giraffes come into conflict with people who manage their pastures. Because of this, some individuals go to restless areas on the border with Mali. 

Жирафов перевозили в специальных контейнерах
Жирафов перевозили в специальных контейнерах

The animals were placed in enclosures for three weeks to prepare for the upcoming journey in special trailers. Then they were transported to a new place of residence in the central part of Niger. 

According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), over the past 30 years, the number of giraffes has declined throughout the African continent. The West African giraffe subspecies was once common in many countries, including Nigeria, Mali, Mauritania and Senegal, but is now only preserved in Niger. In the nineties of the twentieth century, only 49 individuals remained in the wild, and in 2008 the subspecies was listed in the Red Book of the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) as endangered.    

Западноафриканские жирафы - самый малочисленный подвид
Западноафриканские жирафы – самый малочисленный подвид

The efforts of the Niger Government in collaboration with local and international partners have led to the revival of the West African giraffe. Since 2005, conservation efforts in Niger have also intensified thanks to the Giraffe Conservation Fund (GCF) and the Sahara Foundation for Nature Conservation.   

Currently, the population size has increased to 600 individuals, and last month this subspecies was reduced by the IUCN to the category of “vulnerable”. Environmentalists believe that the relocation of eight giraffes is a key step in the development of Gadabedzhi as the leading reserve in Niger. They hope that this will help revive the population of the West African giraffe.

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