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Paul Nederhoed

Giraffe SAFE

Zoo New England is proud to stand tall with giraffes and partner with the Giraffe SAFE program to save one of Africa’s most majestic species. Through this partnership, we're committing to help conservation efforts in Uganda, where Nubian giraffe habitat is greatly threatened.

Giraffe, an iconic species of Africa, have been undergoing a silent crisis. In just the past few years, their numbers in the wild have dropped dramatically with little notice. Giraffe have already been declared locally extinct in seven African countries, and population surveys estimate an overall 40% decline in the global giraffe population.

Up to this point, only one species of giraffe, comprised of several subspecies, had been known to exist. IUCN currently recognizes one species of giraffe as vulnerable, and lists its nine subspecies as endangered or critically endangered. Genetic studies have now shown that there may actually be four distinct species of giraffe: northern, southern, reticulated, and Masai. This reclassification has led to an increase in conservation efforts, as we are learning that giraffe numbers are declining more steadily than previously thought.

The Nubian giraffe, formerly known as the Rothschild giraffe, is listed as critically endangered by IUCN. Though Uganda has the largest population of wild Nubian giraffe, their numbers are still very low at less than 2,100. Primary threats to giraffe in this region include habitat loss and fragmentation, human encroachment, poaching, oil and gas exploration and effects of climate change and variability.

To help bolster the rapidly declining numbers of this giraffe, Zoo New England has partnered with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in its Giraffe SAFE program plan for Nubian giraffe in Uganda. SAFE: Saving Animals From Extinction combines the coordinated efforts of accredited zoos and aquariums to save the most vulnerable wildlife species from extinction. Through this partnership, Zoo New England will support giraffe health assessments, translocations and ongoing conservation projects coordinated by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation in Uganda.