Aerial Surveys – “Lost” Giraffe

Northern Kenya

Sadly, reticulated giraffe (Giraffa reticulata) populations have been estimated to have declined by over 50% in just the past 30 years, from around 36,000 individuals in the 1980s to an estimated 15,700 individuals today. Historically, these giraffe ranged throughout much of northern Kenya, into western Somalia, and into southern Ethiopia. However their range has decreased and the majority of the population now occurs within the vast and arid rangelands of northern Kenya. These rangelands have been understudied and population data for giraffe in these areas does not exist. However, numerous, recent word-of-mouth reports and observations indicate there may be a large lost or hidden population of reticulated giraffe in this area! This is exciting news that, if confirmed, would mean that concerns about extinction of the reticulated giraffe could be lessened.

To gain insight into these populations, such as where they are occurring and approximately how many there are, as well as to identify potential threats to these giraffe (reports of increasing poaching in this region are being received), San Diego Zoo Global along with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and Northern Rangelands Trust are planning an expedition into these areas to find these “lost“ giraffe. Aerial surveys of the region are the first step in this process.

It is only when we know where they are that we can develop effective conservation measures to save them.



Aerial Giraffe Surveys in Northern Kenya


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