Uganda is home to one of the most threatened subspecies of giraffe: the Nubian giraffe (G. c. camelopardalis).
Once free ranging across western Kenya, western Ethiopia, southern South Sudan and Uganda, the Nubian giraffe has been largely eliminated from much of its former range.
In 2010, it was estimated that only 250 Nubian giraffe (then considered Rothschild’s giraffe) lived in their native range in Murchison Falls National Park. Consequently, Rothschild’s giraffe was listed as Endangered on the IUCN Red List in 2010.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) became actively involved in giraffe conservation in Uganda in 2013, when their team conducted the first surveys and genetic sampling at Murchison Falls National Park.
Due to concerted efforts to increase giraffe numbers in the country, Uganda is now home to over 1,650 Nubian giraffe – still a precariously low number that highlights the need for ongoing monitoring to ensure their survival.
Murchison Falls National Park
With a recent estimate of 1,550 adult giraffe, the northern part of Murchison Falls National Park hosts by far the largest population of Nubian giraffe and is therefore at the centre of our Uganda programme. GCF has implemented a long-term study on giraffe numbers, their distribution and ecology in close collaboration with the Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) and Dartmouth College since 2013.
With recent discovery of oil in the park and only separated from the Democratic Republic of Congo by the mighty River Nile, poaching (mainly snaring) is a major threat to all wildlife including giraffe. While giraffe are not a target species, they are collateral damage in wire traps. GCF is working closely with UWA to monitor giraffe numbers and movements, as well as providing directly anti-poaching and de-snaring support. The programme helps to provide a solid baseline to assess their long-term monitoring and proactively adapt to potential threats through oil exploration.
An important tool to secure a sustainable future for giraffe in Uganda is to increase their range within the country by establishing viable satellite populations. In January 2016, UWA with support from GCF successfully translocated a first group of 18 over the Nile River to the southern bank – Operation Twiga I.
This new Nubian giraffe population was further augmented in August 2017, when 19 more giraffe were moved across the Nile River in Operation Twiga II. GCF provided significant financial support to both translocations, largely through funding raised during World Giraffe Day 2015 and 2018. After several births, the new population is now estimated at 45 individuals, indicating a solid and sustainable Nubian giraffe population in this part of the Park.
Working closely with the UWA, GCF plan to move around 15 Nubian Giraffe to Pian Upe later this year, to establish an additional viable, free-ranging population. Pian Upe is the second largest protected conservation area in Uganda, after Murchison Falls. Giraffe were wiped out in the 1990s along with many other species, but the ambition is to restore the reserve.
Explorers against Extinction is delighted to be working with GCF and raising awareness about the plight of giraffe. Our target is to fund the cost for moving a pair of Nubian Giraffe from Murchison to Pian Upe.
Who are GCF?
An international science-based conservation organisation that provides innovative approaches to save giraffe in the wild.
The go-to organisation for giraffe conservation that is proactive and reactive, with a strong collaborative and dynamic team working within a network of partners on all levels.
The Leader in supporting a sustainable future for giraffe in/and their natural habitats.
GCF will continue to organically grow and increase awareness to save giraffe in the wild.
“I cannot imagine an African landscape without giraffe. GCF is the only NGO in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffe and we are proud to partner with them on this project. We hope to cover the cost of moving a pair of Nubian Giraffe to Pian Upe while also raising significant awareness about the threats facing this iconic species”