As World Giraffe Day, 21 June, draws closer it gives us time to reflect on the achievements we have made for the conservation for this iconic species here at Taronga Western Plains Zoo.
Giraffe have been a major part of the Zoo since it opened in 1977, not only in its presence in the Zoo’s logo throughout this time but there’s also been 24 calves born to the breeding program across the Zoo’s 37 year history.
The Giraffe breeding program would have to be one of the most successful programs at the Zoo and as a result has seen Giraffe transferred from Dubbo to all over Australia and New Zealand.
At the Zoo we have three generations in our breeding group with Mutangi at the top of the family tree. She has been one of our best breeding females with seven calves born to date.
The breeding success for Giraffe in Dubbo is due to the expertise and husbandry skills of the keeping staff and also the fact that the animals are comfortable and happy in their environment has seen numbers continue to grow over time.
In the wild, this amazing species is not so lucky and numbers have declined over the past decade to an estimated 80,000 Giraffe remaining in the wild. The 40% drop in numbers is directly due to poaching for bush meat and also habitat encroachment by farmers. Through programs such as Beads for Wildlife, we aim to help wildlife such as Giraffe by providing communities in Kenyan with alternate income sources so they don’t have to rely some much on the herds and grazing. Less livestock means less pressure on water and food for wildlife such as the Giraffe.
By Giraffe Keeper, Pascale Benoit