Photo by @amivitale. Giraffe on the move at Loisaba Wildlife Conservancy (@loisaba_conservancy) in Northern Kenya. Scientists say the giraffe population continues to decrease, with a little over 95,000 individuals now left in their native habitats. That is a 40 percent drop over 20 years, sparking concern that if the trend continues, these iconic animals could become extinct in the wild within a generation. The decline is believed to be caused by habitat loss and fragmentation coupled with poaching, but because there have been no long-term conservation efforts, it is hard to know what is really happening and how best to inform communities, conservationists and decision-makers.
Seemingly ubiquitous, it turns out we know very little about giraffe behavior — how they live, where they move and even why their necks are so long. I accompanied conservationist David O'Connor (@doconnor16 ) of San Diego Zoo Global (@sandiegozoo) and Dr. Julian Fennessy, director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (@giraffe_conservation), along with veterinarian Mathew Mutinda and a team from Kenya Wildlife Service (@kenyawildlifeservice) as they attached tiny, solar-powered satellite tracker to the ossicone (boney, horn-like structures atop their heads) of 11 giraffes. Knowing which areas are vital to giraffe at different times of year and how they move across the landscape is essential to ensuring their survival. The hope is to use these exciting new insights to assist communities and conservancies at the frontiers of conservation to continue to save these towering icons of Africa. If it works, the horizon may be bright for these giraffe, and the people with whom they share their landscapes. Learn more in my National Geographic story: http://on.natgeo.com/2sW5XVb
Please follow and help support conservation initiatives at @sandiegozoo @giraffe_conservation @nrt_kenya @nature_org @nature_africa and @amivitale to #savegiraffes!
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