Niger giraffes on the way up again

This video is about giraffes in South Africa.

From Associated Press:

KOURE, Niger, Nov. 7, 2009

West African Giraffes Defy Extinction

Numbering Only 50 in 1996, Niger Subspecies of Giraffe Swells to 200 Today Thanks to Conservation Efforts

A crisp African dawn is breaking overhead, and Zibo Mounkaila is on the back of a pickup truck bounding across a sparse landscape of rocky orange soil.

The tallest animals on earth are here, the guide says, somewhere amid the scant green bush on one side, and the thatched dome villages on the other.

They’re here, but by all accounts, they shouldn’t be.

A hundred years ago, West Africa’s last giraffes numbered in the thousands and their habitat stretched from Senegal’s Atlantic Ocean coast to Chad, in the heart of the continent. By the dawn of the 21st century, their world had shrunk to a tiny zone southeast of the capital, Niamey, stretching barely 150 miles long.

The numbers of the Western subspecies dwindled so low that in 1996, they numbered a mere 50.

Instead of disappearing as many feared, though, the giraffes have bounced miraculously back from the brink of extinction, swelling to more than 200 today.

It’s an unlikely boon experts credit to a combination of concerned conservationists, a government keen for revenue, and a rare harmony with villagers who have accepted their presence – for now.

There are nine subspecies of giraffes in Africa, each distinguished by geographic location and the color, pattern and shape of their spotted coats.

The animals in Niger are known as Giraffa camelopardalis peralta, the most endangered subspecies in Africa. They have large orange-brown spots that fade into pale white legs.

Ten years ago, an estimated 140,000 giraffes inhabited Africa, according to Julian Fennessy, a Nairobi, Kenya-based conservation expert. Today, giraffes number less than 100,000, devastated by poaching, war, advancing deserts and exploding human populations that have destroyed and fragmented their habitats. Around half the giraffes live outside game parks in the wild, where they are more difficult to monitor and protect, Fennessy said.

Giraffe hunting is prohibited in many countries. And some, like Kenya, have taken giraffe meat off the menu of tourist restaurants that once served them up on huge skewers. Even so, Fennessy said the plight of giraffes has largely been overlooked in conservation circles.

“We’re trying to increase awareness, educate people, help governments put conservation practices in place,” said Fennessy, who founded the Giraffe Conservation Foundation to draw attention to the animals’ plight. “If we don’t, giraffe numbers are going to continue to drop.”

Supercharged’ heart pumps blood up a giraffe’s neck: here.

Baby Giraffe Born on Easter at Netherlands’ Rotterdam Zoo: here.

3 thoughts on “Niger giraffes on the way up again

  1. Pingback: Young giraffe video | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Տանգո՝ ընձուղտների կատարմամբ / Tango performed by giraffes | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: Chechnya offers to save second Danish giraffe Marius | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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