The Great Kenyan Giraffe Rescue

Atlas Obscura || It took a custom-built barge and a whole lot of patience to get these rare animals off a shrinking island.

On a sunny day at Kenya’s Lake Baringo, a barge floated gently by. Its main passenger calmly munched on his favorite snack of acacia seed pods. At about 16 feet tall, he could easily peer around to take in his watery surroundings. But this was not some idyllic pleasure cruise. This trip, on January 27, 2021, was a rescue mission, to save Lbarnoti, a Rothschild’s giraffe, from floodwaters gradually rising around Longicharo Island, where he and some fellow ruminants had lived for a decade.

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