Eight giraffes are being actively rescued from an island sanctuary after the area experienced dangerous levels of flooding.
Multiple conversation groups are working together to safely transport the Rothchild’s giraffes off an island in Lake Bargino in Kenya. The area flooded after heavy rainfall resulted in the lake water rising 6 inches every day. The flooding became so bad that the peninsula was cut into an island – where the giraffes become trapped and isolated.
The endangered giraffes were first moved to the peninsula area, turned island, around 2011 to help protect them against poaching. With only around 1,500 of these giraffes left, conservationists were hoping to help their populations increase by removing them from an area prone to poaching attacks.
Now, the giraffes are facing a new threat, being completely cut off from resources.
The Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS), the Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), and Save Giraffes Now are working together to transport the Rothschild’s giraffes from the island to a protected and expansive sanctuary on the mainland.
Two of the giraffes have been successfully located to the 4,400-acre fenced sanctuary. They’re hoping to move the remaining six, four female adults, a female juvenile, and a male adult, over the next few months.
Asiwa was the first giraffe to be rescued from the island. She was isolated from the other giraffes for over a year because of the floodwaters and was deemed, “the most vulnerable.”
The conservation groups were thrilled to welcome Asiwa to the mainland. Save Giraffes Now shared, “It is a relief for all involved to have got her safely across to the mainland…Over the next few days two other giraffe are due to be moved, the rest will follow in the coming months.”
Easter, or Pasaka, was the next to be rescued. The juvenile giraffe joined Asiwa and provided her much-needed company in the sanctuary.
The rescue missions were no easy feat. Each giraffe has to be carefully transported by barge across the 1.1-mile lake.
According to PEOPLE, Save Giraffes Now shared that the barge was specifically designed with the giraffes in mind. They said the barge was “built specifically to carry tall, heavy giraffes. The rectangular steel structure floats atop a series of empty drums, for buoyancy.”
Susan Myers, founder and CEO of Save Giraffes Now, explained:
“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.”
While the groups are working hard to safely relocate all six remaining giraffes as quickly as possible, they’re doing so without the help of tranquilizers. Instead, they are working with the giraffes’ personalities and taking things slowly.
The three conservation groups are committed to seeing each of the endangered giraffes safely escorted from the island to the expansive sanctuary. Giraffe populations are quietly dwindling and are heavily influenced by poachers.
Hopefully the actions of these conservation groups can make a lasting impact on the giraffe populations around the world.
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