Giraffe Conservation in Kenya
Over the last decade African giraffe populations have decreased by about 30 percent due to habitat encroachment, habitat loss, habitat fragmentation, severe poaching, increasing human populations and human-wildlife conflicts. Kenya is home to three sub-species of giraffe, which is the most giraffe sub-species in a single African country. The three sub-species are the Rothschild, Reticulated, and Masai.
They are the second most endangered giraffes. The total population is down to less than 700, in isolated areas of Kenya and Uganda. Ruma National Park in Nyanza Province has the single largest meta-population (130 individuals) in the country. Lake Nakuru National Park and Soysambu Conservancy have about 60 each, and Kigio Wildlife Conservancy has 32. The rest of the country’s preserves have less than 20 each.
Only about 3,000 – 5,000 remain in the wild. A decade ago that number was estimated at 28,000. They are found in Northern Kenya, and Somalia.
They are also in decline, but of the three are in a more stable state due to their larger numbers. Data is currently being collected, and more should be known about their status soon.
Kenya Wildlife Service, is the national agency in charge of wildlife. They have created a National Giraffe Conservation Task Force (NGCTF) to formulate the National Giraffe Conservation Strategy. Two meetings of the task force have taken place so far to discuss the key features of the strategy. A two-day retreat in July 2010 is taking place to further discuss challenges and risk factors for the three sub-species of giraffes.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation wrote a summary of the conservation challenge, “For example, until very recently, the last major work undertaken in Nairobi National Park was in the 1960s, with a small study in the 1990s, and since then rapid human population growth has put significant pressure on the surrounding Kitengela communal area, the dispersal area of giraffe and other species in and out of the park.”
Image Credit: Public Domain