Updated: Dec 7, 2020
- Kenya, Africa -
A major collaboration of multiple giraffe conservation groups has made possible the rescue of two of the eight endangered Rothschild Giraffes stranded at Lake Baringo’s Longicharo Island.
The recent heavy rains caused the water in the lake to raise as high as 6 inches every day cutting off the giraffes’ natural resources.
The rescue operation was conducted by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Save Giraffes Now, Northern Rangeland Trust, and Ruko Community Wildlife Conservation.
It was carried out over the span of two days, December 2, and December 3, using a custom-made steel barge which floated approximately 1.1 miles across the lake using two boats.
So far, two female giraffes have left the island to reach their new home at Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy sanctuary, a 4,400-acre fenced sanctuary, where they will have space, protection and an abundance of grazing.
The first adult giraffe to be rescued was Asiwa.
Save Giraffes Now, a Texas-based nonprofit, wrote in a Facebook post: “Asiwa, has always been a priority for the team on the ground, as she was the most vulnerable. It is a relief for all involved to have got her safely across to the mainland and we are sure she is enjoying the space in her new home!”
On Thursday, December 3, the second rescue took place.
The young giraffe Easter left the island to join Asiwa.
A Facebook post by Save Giraffes Now reads:” Easter (also known as Pasaka meaning Easter in Kiswahili) took her first steps on the mainland at around 10 am. We are extremely excited that Asiwa now has some company as she has been trapped and isolated from the other giraffe for over a year and a half. There are now six #RukoGiraffe left on the island; four remaining adult females - Nkarikoni, Nalangu, Awala and Nasieku - Susan a juvenile female and one adult male, Lbarnnoti. We hope they will be moved in the next few months.”
Ms. Susan Myers, founder and CEO of Save Giraffes Now, said: “Each giraffe has its own personality. Some are very timid, while others are brave and go onto the barge readily. This is a painstaking process, and the team has been very deliberate about the training.”
The Rothschild giraffes were re-introduced to a peninsula ten years ago to save them from damn poachers and to increase their population.
Sadly, due to unexpected rising lake levels, the peninsula turned into an island, hence their rescue and relocation.
Eyewitness News reports that David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now, said: “There is great urgency to execute this rescue. We couldn't have asked for a better result, and we're eager to move the others soon. With giraffes undergoing a silent extinction, every one we can protect matters.”
If you can afford to make a donation towards the rescue and relocation of the giraffes, please click here. Thank you!