21 June is World Giraffe Day
The longest day (or night) for the tallest animal.
World Giraffe Day (WGD) is an exciting annual event initiated by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF). Not only is it a worldwide celebration of these amazing and much-loved animals, but an annual event to raise support, create awareness and shed light on the challenges giraffe face in the wild.
There are only about 117,000 giraffe remaining in the wild in Africa. Their numbers have dropped by almost 30% in the last 3 decades.
World Giraffe Day 2021
This year is dedicated to saving the last West African giraffe. 100 years ago West African giraffe were widely distributed in West Africa, from Nigeria to Senegal. By the mid-1990s only 49 individuals remained in the wild – all of them in Niger – one of the world’s poorest countries.
The Niger government decided to turn the tide and together with GCF and many other conservation partners they have worked to protect West African giraffe. The recovery of Niger’s giraffe population is a real success story and something to celebrate.
Today, there are about 600 West African giraffe – these are the only West African giraffe left in the world.
Most live in an isolated pocket called the Giraffe Zone, just east of the capital, Niamey, and share the land with local people. However, habitat loss and destruction is increasing in this area so the people of Niger need help to continue protecting West African giraffe.
One of the ways to do this is by translocating (moving) giraffe to other areas where there is space and safety for the giraffe to breed and thrive. In 2018 eight giraffe were moved 800km to the Gadabedji Biosphere Reserve in a translocation called Operation Sahel Giraffe.
CF continue to work with the Niger government, and to monitor both giraffe populations as well as assessing other areas in Niger which might be suitable for giraffe translocations.
We are supporting conservation of giraffe in Niger through this year’s 21 For 21 campaign. We have pledged funds to provide for at least one GPS satellite unit, and its fitting and ranger monitoring.