New National Geographic Wild Movie Highlights One of Our Key Projects!
We at Save Giraffes Now are delighted to announce the release of Saving Giraffes: The Long Journey Home
airing September 21 on National Geographic Wild Channel, and coming soon to DISNEY+!
A Statement From Our President, David O’Connor
Dear Giraffe Friends,
Saving Giraffes is a National Geographic film about how Save Giraffes Now, The Ruko Conservancy, Northern Rangelands Trust and the Kenya Wildlife Service rescued nine endangered Rothchild’s giraffe from a sinking island in Lake Baringo and reintroduced them to the mainland after being extinct in the region for 70 years. The film tells the incredible story of how the Ruko community – two tribes previously at war – came together in peace to save these giraffe, and create a 44,000 acre wildlife conservancy.
As such, I wanted to briefly share some behind the scenes special moments and highlights from the rescue that aren’t in the film:
- While some of the giraffe had to be tranquilized and guided onto the ‘GiRaft’ to sail across the lake, we were delighted that we were able to use innovative techniques that used food alone to entice three of the giraffe onto the GiRaft so that we didn’t have to dart them at all. It turns out that just like many of us giraffe have a sweet tooth and were very enticed by mangoes!
- The night before he was to be moved, there was concern about the big male giraffe. He had been the most adaptive of the giraffe in terms of entering the barge voluntarily for food, but one of the female giraffes in the holding area went into heat unexpectedly. The question for the team became whether the male would stay on the island for love or get on the barge for the food. Food won over love: he got on the barge without hesitation and ate his way the entire way across the water and never looked back!
- When we began the rescues there were eight giraffe… by the end there were nine! Unbeknownst to us when we started the rescues was that one of the females was pregnant and the calf was born on the island over the months of the rescue operation. While we were delighted to welcome the new calf safely into the world, it added a lot of challenges to the rescue. BUT we were able to bring both mother and calf safely to the mainland unharmed!
- In June 2022 COVID conditions meant that we were FINALLY able to properly celebrate with the Ruko community the creation of the giraffe sanctuary area and the successful rescue and reintroduction of giraffe into their land. We expected 200 people for the party….over 600 showed up, and quite a celebration it was!
- And lastly one blooper. The very first day I was on the ground in Ruko before the first move and we were making final adjustments and preparations to the GiRaft. While fixing one of the sides, my phone slipped out of my pocket and between the boards of the deck straight into the lake… where it still lives today (unless a croc has eaten it)!
Thank you for all your support!
President, Save Giraffes Now
A Bold Operation to Save the Last Rothschild's Giraffe
In 2020, we launched an ambitious (and amphibious) plan with our partners to return Rothschild’s giraffe to the iconic Eastern Rift Valley, their ancestral home where they were wiped out 70 years ago.
After many months of planning and training, all 9 stranded giraffe – including new calf Noelle, born in December – were successfully moved to their new home at Ruko Community Conservancy in early 2021.