The Fading Away Giraffe

Fading Away: A Masai giraffe walks by an acacia bush at the #NairobiNationalPark. It is one the three subspecies found in Kenya. The other two species are the Rothschild (Nubian) giraffe which is highly endangered and the reticulated giraffe found mostly in northern and eastern Kenya. Both the Masai and Rothschild giraffes are characterized by patches that have more jagged, star-like blotches on their bodies. However, the former which is found in southern parts of Kenya has brown spots all the way down their feet while the latter appears to have “cream-colored socks” and is found in western and central Kenya. Masai giraffe are the most abundant giraffe subspecies in Kenya at 12,000 individuals, followed by reticulated giraffe and less than 9,000 individuals and finally Rothschild giraffe at approximately 400 individuals.

Conservation status Giraffes continue to exist mostly in protected areas in 27 out of the 47 counties in the country. They travel great distances in search of forage and mates, but increasing human population, expansion of agricultural land and the development of infrastructure has caused the fragmentation of their range. From a conservation aspect, the lack of long distance movement limits access to suitable forage and the natural gene flow between populations. Giraffes in Kenya exhibit a fission-fusion social system which means that members of a herd come together and break away in response to local environment factors.

References: https://giraffeconservation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Kenyas-Giraffe-2016-LR-c-GCF.pdf https://blogs.exeter.ac.uk/africafieldcourses/2013/02/05/guide-to-kenyan-species-giraffes/

Special Thanks to Kathy Karambu

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