From Namibia to Angola and Beyond.
Life’s all about the journey when you’re a giraffe. The name giraffe is believed to come from the Arab word zarafa, meaning ‘fast walker’. Their collective noun too ‘a journey of giraffe’ alludes to their ability to cover large distances. This capacity for distance serves many purposes. It facilitates genetic diversity between different giraffe populations, gives them access to seasonal resources and helps the health of the ecosystem.
Journeys have always been an integral part of a giraffe’s existence, but travel is harder than ever for them now, hindered by anthropogenic pressures such as habitat loss and fragmentation, human-wildlife conflict and climate change. Throughout Africa, this ethereal species is under threat for a multitude of reasons. Thankfully though, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) are carrying the mantle of giraffe conservation in Africa, and we’re fully supporting them in their endeavours.
The pressures that giraffes are facing in undertaking their journeys are significant but not insurmountable, particularly when GCF step in to help. We recently supported the GCF team in the translocation of 14 giraffe from Namibia to Angola Iona National Park, a distance of around 1300 kilometres. Many years of civil war in Angola has forced the giraffe who used to live there away from their home range. This reintroduction to their historical home will go a long way to supporting their long-term survival. The project will not only help giraffe conservation, but also the biodiversity of the national park itself.
Natural Selection has committed funding that will support GCF giraffe translocation activities, including post-translocation monitoring for 12 months.
We’ve been long-time supporters of GCF and it’s actually our flagship initiative at Hoanib Valley Camp in Namibia. Simply by staying at this Namibian camp guests are making a meaningful difference to giraffe conservation.
Elsewhere in Namibia we’re working with the GCF to develop the Savannah Landscape Ecology and Education Centre (SLEEC) at Etosha Heights Private Reserve, and we’re also involved with the Khomas Environmental Education Programme (KEEP).
Over in Botswana we support the GCF Genetic Testing Programme. DNA samples have been taken in a number of important sample sites in Botswana to build on previous genetic research that has been undertaken in the country.
The journey of giraffe conservation might be a long one, but we’re in it for the long run.
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