Last year we partnered with Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) in order to help them translocate 15 critically endangered Nubian Giraffe from Murchison Falls to Pian Upe, a park in the north of Uganda. Nubian Giraffe are genetically identical to Rothschild’s Giraffe and there are estimated to be 3,000 of this sub-species of Northern Giraffe in total in Africa – mainly in Kenya and Uganda. The easiest way to identify a Nubian giraffe is to look for its white legs – there are no markings on the lower leg. The giraffe’s patches are large, rectangular and chestnut-brown.
The giraffe were successfully moved in November 2019 (see photo) and have settled in well. These giraffe will vitally form a new satellite population and with space and safety will hopefully go on to breed.
Prior to the translocation taking place, Rob and I had the opportunity to spend some time in Murchison Falls with the GCF mobile veterinary response team led by Dr Sara Ferguson.
We spent the day with the team identifying giraffe who might be suitable for the translocation. In the process we learnt more about their work in Murchison. This includes rescuing giraffe caught in copper wire snares.
Dr Ferguson told us that they remove 10 snares on average per month from trapped giraffe. The giraffe are not the target of the snares, but collateral damage, caught in traps set for bush meat. During our time in Murchison we saw giraffe with terrible snare scars.
To remove the snares the giraffe need to be sedated – a single dart costs in the region of $60 USD.
We continue to follow and support the work of GCF and were interested to see recent images of the team removing a snare caught around a giraffe’s head. This is one of 43 giraffe the team have rescued since April – all victims of snaring. Thanks to intervention, all 43 giraffe have made a full recovery.
To put the work of GCF in Murchison Falls in to context – a decade ago there were estimated to be as few as 250 Nubian giraffe. Thanks to a partnership between GCF and the Uganda Wildlife Authority, there are now over 1,550.