The protection of giraffes will be discussed during the ongoing Cites conference.
There are likely to be significant debates at this meeting over giraffes, sharks, rhinos and a number of threatened plant and tree species.
Some environmentalists are very concerned about giraffes, who they say are suffering a “silent extinction” with numbers dropping by 40 per cent over the last 30 years because of habitat loss, civil unrest, illegal hunting and the international trade in body parts.
To mitigate this, and support their protection, the International Fund for Animal Welfare (IFAW) is supporting the construction of community wildlife ranger bases along the porous Kenya Tanzania border and providing the community wildlife rangers with rations, supplies and salaries.
Populations of the giraffe (Prop. 5) have declined significantly over the past several decades due to habitat loss and other pressures. The Central African Republic, Chad, Kenya, Mali, Niger and Senegal propose that the giraffe be listed on Appendix II as a precautionary measure to help arrest the species’ ongoing decline.
For the first time at Cites, there is a proposal to give these giraffes a measure of protection from trade.
“It is important that giraffes are listed by Cites because currently, we can’t say for certain how much of their huge population decline is due to trade,” said Matt Collis from IFAW.
“We do know it is a significant factor though as the only country that currently collects data on trade in giraffes, the US, has reported almost 40,000 giraffe items traded in a decade, from 2006 to 2015.”
This comes shortly after a female giraffe was spotted at approximately 15:00 hours by an off-duty Olgulului Community Wildlife Ranger (OCWR) with a modified spear protruding from its abdomen near the Ongata-Rongai area, west of Ilmarba community ranger outpost.
The ranger then alerted the Kenya Wildlife Service veterinarian who sedated the animal and removed the spear.
The injury, though serious, was deemed to be non-life threatening and the giraffe is expected to make a full recovery after the veterinarian’s evaluation.
The motive is however not known at the moment but it is suspected that the was to poach the animal for bushmeat as there’s a lack of agriculture in this area and the animal does not pose a threat to the surrounding bomas.
IFAW, OCWR, and KWS are working together to identify any leads regarding the individual(s) responsible.