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Conservation Partners :: Reticulated Giraffe Project

Reticulated Giraffe Project

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Reticulated Giraffe Project Giraffe 5The Reticulated Giraffe Project works across much of the north-east of Kenya, Africa, from its base in the beautiful Samburu National Reserve. Coordinated by John Doherty, the RGP is a partnership between Queen’s University Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the Kenya Wildlife Service. It aims to address the recent decline in the population of reticulated giraffes – more than 80% have disappeared since the turn of the millennium – through a combination of research into the animals’ behavior, ecology and population dynamics with generating awareness, developing environmental education programs and providing policy makers and stakeholders with reliable information and advice.



Conservation: Without the efforts of local people, the decline in the reticulated-giraffe population might be even more serious than it is. Many communities, organizations and individuals have designated their lands for the preservation of wildlife, with the result that the total protected area available to giraffes is now much greater than that of only the National Parks and Reserves.The Reticulated Giraffe Project works through formal and non-formal environmental education. At its simplest, this involves sharing wildlife experiences with the local communities on whose consent the giraffes’ future depends. At a wider scale, the RGP supports the relevant county governments and the national government of Kenya in the development of effective conservation policies, and it contributes to the work of international conservation organizations, including the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group. Spacer30px Reticulated Giraffe Project Giraffe


Auggie Spacer30px Research: The Reticulated Giraffe Project’s research programs are designed to support its conservation work. John Doherty and Project Naturalist Jacob Leaidura have learned to recognize hundreds of reticulated giraffes individually in order to study in detail their behavior and social interactions. The team is also exploring the ways in which reticulated giraffes communicate with one another, and following their individual life histories in order to better understand and address the reasons for the decline in their numbers.


Current priorities: In addition to its ongoing programs, the Reticulated Giraffe Project is working to provide solar lighting and mobile-phone charging to the rangers in Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves, and to offer similar support to the scouts in the surrounding community conservancies. It hopes to distribute T-shirts bearing effective conservation messages through schools and community groups across the giraffes’ remaining range, and it is working in partnership with local universities to develop higher-education opportunities for future conservationists, and to monitor the impact of its work on attitudes and behavior. Spacer30px


Why is this important to the Dallas Zoo?

The Giants of the Savannah exhibit at the Dallas Zoo is modeled on the landscape and habitats of Samburu, and the Zoo is proud to support the work of the Reticulated Giraffe Project in the wild. The Zoo has donated funds to the RGP in support of several of its current priorities. These include the development of new ways to deploy GPS tags that avoid the risks of traditional immobilization and capture – “trauma-free telemetry” – as well as work on a comprehensive giraffe population database, community monitoring schemes, and the purchase of much needed research equipment.