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Saving the last west African giraffe


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Presented during the 17h Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting organized by the NGO Sahara Conservation Fund in Senegal, from 4 to 6 May 2017. The Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) gathers every year about a hundred people who are interested in the field of Sahelo-Saharan species conservation.

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Saving the last west African giraffe

  1. 1. 17th Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group Meeting 2 days of talks on biodiversity conservation in the Sahara and in the Sahel Saving the last West African Giraffe Arthur MUNEZA, East Africa Coordinator - Giraffe Conservation Fund May 4 – 6, 2017
  2. 2. Saving the Last West African Giraffe 17th Annual Sahelo-Saharan Interest Group, St. Louis, Senegal Arthur B. Muneza East Africa Coordinator Giraffe Conservation Foundation
  3. 3. Distribution of giraffe subspecies
  4. 4. Giraffe population trends
  5. 5. Giraffe population trends COMMON NAME SCIENTIFIC NAME HISTORICAL ESTIMATE CURRENT ESTIMATE PERCENTAGE CHANGE CURRENT IUCN CONSERVATION STATUS West African G. c. peralta ~ 50 477 700% Endangered South African G. c. giraffa 8,000 21,387 167% Not Assessed Angolan G. c. angolensis 5,000 13,031 161% Not Assessed Rothschild’s G. c. rothschildi 1,330 1,671 26% Endangered Thornicroft’s G. c. thornicrofti 600 600 0% Not Assessed Kordofan G. c. antiquorum 3,696 2,000 -46% Not Assessed Masai G. c. tippleskirchi 66,449 31,611 -52% Not Assessed Reticulated G. c. reticulata 37,950 8,661 -77% Not Assessed Nubian G. c. camelopardalis 20,577 650 -97% Not Assessed
  6. 6. Threats to giraffe conservation § Habitat loss and land fragmentation
  7. 7. Threats to giraffe conservation § Poaching and snaring
  8. 8. Threats to giraffe conservation § Human conflict ↔ lack of long-term research efforts
  9. 9. Threats to giraffe conservation § Disease (Rinderpest, Anthrax, Lumpy Skin Disease, Giraffe Ear Disease, Giraffe Skin Disease)
  10. 10. Threats to giraffe conservation § Ecological changes (mining, livestock overgrazing, climate change)
  11. 11. Giraffe Conservation Foundation • 9 subspecies • 14 countries in Africa • Conservation efforts in collaboration with partners • Financial and/or technical support • Awareness and education
  12. 12. Giraffe taxonomy
  13. 13. Historical distribution
  14. 14. Vision: “Des populations viables de la girafe peralta, endémique d’Afrique de l’Ouest, vivent dans tous les écosystèmes favorables au Niger et ailleurs, coexistent harmonieusement avec les communautés locales, et sont mises en valeur au profit des générations actuelles et futures.” “Viable populations of the West African giraffe, endemic to West Africa, persist in all suitable ecosystems in Niger and elsewhere, coexist harmoniously with local communities, and are valued for the benefit of present and future generations.”
  15. 15. • Goal: To ensure the survival of the West African giraffe by improving its conservation in the Giraffe Zone with local stakeholders and by creating metapopulations. 1. Bridging the information gap on habitat quality and the carrying capacity of the Giraffe Zone 2. Ensuring a better understanding of the spatial ecology of giraffe 3. Undertaking regular ecological monitoring 4. Increasing data sharing and raising awareness 5. Mitigating the direct causes of giraffe mortality 6. Attenuating the effects of giraffe on the environment 7. Enhance the human, material, and financial capacity of services in the country 8. Improving and enforcing existing regulations 9. Preserve giraffe habitat 10. Improve the health condition of livestock and better understand the health status of giraffe 11. Regulate the access of pastoralists to the Giraffe Zone 12. Controlling and enforcing texts 13. Mitigate the effects of climate change on giraffe habitat 14. Mitigate the negative environmental impacts of the railway, particularly on the conservation of giraffe Action Plans of strategy
  16. 16. Increased monitoring efforts
  17. 17. 2016 census Age groups Sex Adults Sub - adults Juveniles Calves TOTAL Indexed and observed males 59 14 14 0 87 Indexed and observed females 111 12 10 0 133 Newly observed males 0 17 4 14 35 Newly observed females 3 5 15 22 45 Indexed males, not observed during 2016 census 74 42 51 0 167 Indexed females, not observed during 2016 census 56 7 20 0 83 TOTAL 303 97 114 36 550 Indexed giraffes, non-identified sex 3 Indexed individuals died between 2015 & 2016 census 6 TOTAL ESTIMATE OF THE POPULATION 547 Cf: Ministère de l’Environnement et du Développement Durable du Niger, October 2016
  18. 18. Expanding the ‘Giraffe Zone’
  19. 19. Operation Twiga
  20. 20. 15 giraffe 10 females + 5 males Expanding the ‘Giraffe Zone’
  21. 21. Next steps: collaboration with SCF § Local Nigerien to provide field support to GCF and SCF field projects; liaise with government officials; technical support to AVEN § Carry out field surveys in Termit & Tin-Toumma National Nature Reserve, Aïr & Ténéré National Nature Reserve, and Gadabedji Game Reserve § Provide support (logistics, technical, administrative, fund raising) to the ostrich project in Niger
  22. 22. Next steps: supporting communities § Encouraging more approaches allowing local people to get involved in conservation actions of giraffe and its habitat § Creating a scientific committee for the West African giraffe § Designing an adapted model for an ecological database about giraffe; § Organising anti-poaching programs in the central area to dissuade potential transgressors
  23. 23. How can we save giraffe? • Long term monitoring (Giraffe WildBook, equipment, support rangers, identifying habitat requirements, threats, movement data/spatial ecology, etc)
  24. 24. Questions?