Happy World Giraffe Day!
In May 2018, the Sahara Conservation Fund was at the Giraffe Conservation Science Symposium, which took place at the SCBI campus in Front Royal, Virginia, USA. This first-ever giraffe conservation science-related event was a new initiative of our partner the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. Indeed, SCF has joined forces with GCF to save the last remaining population of West African Giraffe that lives in the wild in Niger. Today being the World Giraffe Day, an annual event also initiated by GCF, we thought it was the perfect time to say how pleased we were to be present at this decisive new symposium. Happy World Giraffe Day!
Populations of giraffe, a particularly charismatic species, are rapidly disappearing. The conservation status of the giraffe is now “vulnerable to extinction” as assessed by the IUCN, and the number of remaining individuals is estimated to be less than 100,000. They have plummeted by a staggering 40% over the last 30 years. The causes for their decline are habitat loss and fragmentation, disease, competition with livestock, and local bush meat trade. Conservationists are well aware that their engagement and the collaboration of a large number of stakeholders, of wildlife experts, and local communities, is now necessary to maximize our chances to prevent the species from declining further.
The Giraffe Conservation Foundation provided the opportunity for everybody, through this symposium, to come together and develop a unifying Africa-wide Giraffe Conservation Science Management Framework. More than 30 experts working directly on giraffe or in thematic areas relevant to conservation-based decision-making from NGOs, academia, and African governments participated in it. Several key questions and thematic areas were identified to improve knowledge on the species and secure its future.