Uganda strives to replenish endangered giraffe population

Insight

Rothschild giraffesRothschild giraffes live in captivity at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.

Giraffes are facing a silent extinction. Only around 90,000 of the long-necked animals still roam the African plains. But despite the latest concerns, conservationists say Ugandan giraffes are thriving – even growing in number in their natural habitat.

CCTV’s Michael Baleke reports from Entebbe, Uganda.

Uganda strives to replenish endangered giraffe population

Giraffes are facing a silent extinction. Only around 90,000 of the long-necked animals still roam the African plains. But despite the latest concerns, conservationists say Ugandan giraffes are thriving – even growing in number in their natural habitat. CCTV’s Michael Baleke has this report.

A male Rothschild Giraffe lives in captivity at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre. Thousands more of these gentle animals roam freely in three of Uganda’s national parks — in the western and north-eastern part of the country.

Ugandan wildlife authorities say giraffe populations here are surely but steadily recovering.

According to Isaac Mujaasi of the Uganda Wildlife Education Center, after the 1980s, numbers went as low as 280 individuals.

From 2010 to 2014, the numbers went up and right now we have an estimate of 880.

A recent report by the International Union for Conservation of Nature classified giraffes as a vulnerable species. Ugandan authorities say they’re stepping up efforts to protect them.

Rothschild giraffes

Rothschild giraffes live in captivity at the Uganda Wildlife Education Centre.

Giraffes inhabit savannah grasslands and open woodlands, but they have already become extinct in some countries. The Rothschild subspecies is only found naturally in Uganda and Kenya.

Like a human fingerprint, every giraffe has a unique skin pattern. And every giraffe lost is another dent to hopes of keeping herd numbers up. Conservationists here say humans need to rethink the way we relate to other animals and the environment if we are to save the world’s tallest animal.”

Protection of giraffe’s natural habitat and increasing awareness are two priorities for conservationists.

“The biggest threat to their survival is habitat destruction… we are fast converting the forest, which is their home, into areas for settlement, agriculture and so forth,” said Mujaasi. “The other thing is the Rothschild giraffe is also being hunted for meat… and the tail.”

The tail is seen by some as a status symbol, used in jewelry. So despite the growing numbers – the giraffe is still under threat.


What more needs to be done to save giraffes around the world? To learn more about their extinction situations, CCTV America’s Mike Walter spoke with Noelle Kumpel, co-chair of the IUCN’s Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group.