Today is World Giraffe Day, an opportunity to raise awareness and support for giraffe conservation.
Giraffes have always been a part of the Zoo’s history, with the Zoo recognised as a leader in giraffe breeding within Australia. The latest arrival of four giraffe calves born early this year is a testament to this reputation. The breeding program has had a significant impact on raising awareness of this species and for giraffe conservation.
There are currently four generations in our breeding group with a herd of 15 giraffe. The aim is to establish a healthy, self-sustained insurance population in Australia that is genetically diverse, should there be a catastrophic event where wild giraffe populations are diminished, zoo populations could support re-introduction to the wild, if it is safe to do so.
Giraffe are one of Africa’s most majestic and remarkable creatures that have long inhabited the earth. Their unusual shape and height makes them well adapted to life on the African Savannah. They are one of the most recognised animals throughout the animal kingdom.
It's unfortunate that giraffes now rarely exist outside specific National Park areas in Africa. Their numbers have dropped significantly, by 40% in the past 15 years, from 140 000 to now less than 80,000 remaining in the wild. The decline is due to a number of factors including the illegal bush meat trade, habitat destruction, trophy hunting and poaching.
The world is dealing with an unprecedented spike in illegal wildlife trade. It is the greatest direct threat to the future of many of the world’s most iconic species such as the giraffe. Everyone can play a role in the fight against illegal wildlife trade by simply downloading the Wildlife Witness app and reporting any illegal behaviour when travelling around the world.
Taronga is also supporting giraffe conservation through collaboration with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Namibia, funding research programs into understanding genetics, diversity and migration routes as well as surveying giraffe.
By Giraffe Keeper, Maz Boz