Although there are no actual conservation strategies to protect the giraffes, there is a recently formed coalition of organizations such as GCF (Giraffe Conservation Foundation), with its conservation and research partners working closely with all stakeholders, and across all giraffe range to raise awareness for the giraffes. In addition, the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group was established in 2013 with the goal of understanding the threats giraffes face, how they can be mitigated to facilitate their long-term conservation and to play its part in ensuring their survival. They are focusing on counting and identifying individual giraffe in Northwest Namibia as well as collecting DNA samples in this amazing landscape. GCF is also currently conducting the first-ever detailed assessment of giraffe as a species, as well as all its 9 subspecies, and it is expected that by early 2016 most, if not all, will end up in one of the IUCN Red List threatened categories. Due to this species being ignored for a long time, there is general lack of knowledge on the key factors affecting their demographic rates. Recent research had only started to paint the bleak picture facing these giants.
There are also viable populations of giraffes in protected areas in Kenya and Uganda and genotype analyses suggest that the population in Lake Nakuru National Park (LNNP) is in good genetic health. The Government of Niger made efforts to enforce legislation preventing the illegal killing of giraffes. Although giraffe conservation involves the continent as a whole, it should first be tackled country by country and subspecies by subspecies.
There is a lot that needs to be done before a successful conservation strategy can be created for these species. It's time that we care more about the giraffes and "stick our neck out" to save them before they disappear.
By Varvara Vladimirova, research intern
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