Another Rothschild’s giraffe floated to safety from flooded island

Partners of Save Giraffes Now floated another endangered Rothschild’s giraffe to safety from a flooded island on Lake Baringo.

The team successfully moved female giraffe Awala to Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy’s newly created giraffe sanctuary.

“Awala will find plenty to eat at Ruko, where she was reunited with Asiwa and Easter, the first two giraffe rescued in December, and Lbarnoti, the male rescued in February. While the conservation team is thrilled with the successful move, five more giraffe remain on the island and must be rescued soon,” a statement from Save Giraffes Now said.

Reports indicate that Lake Baringo has stopped rising for now but very little natural food remains on the island.

Remaining on the island are Nkarikoni, her baby Noelle, Nasieku, Nalangu, and young Susan. The team urgently wants to move them to safety, as young giraffe are particularly susceptible to predators, a lack of food and other dangers.

About half of all giraffe calves don’t live to their first birthday, and two calves on the island already have been lost.

“We’re thrilled Noelle is healthy and developing nicely – she is now 7 feet tall! – but we must continue to keep her safe until she is big enough to move, which is thankfully fast approaching,” said Susan Myers, the founder and CEO of Save Giraffes Now. “We remain hopeful to finish these rescues as quickly as possible.”

The rescues are an international collaboration among Save Giraffes Now, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Northern Rangelands Trust and the Ruko Community.

The concept of creating the sanctuary and moving the stranded giraffe had been discussed for years, but in February 2020, the situation had become critical, as the giraffe had limited food on the shrinking island.

“We’re making great progress, but we won’t rest until the other fiare safe at Ruko Conservancy, as well,” said David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now. “There has been a recent devastating decline of the giraffe population, but very few people are even aware they are endangered, so each one matters greatly.”

During a past meeting with NRT and Ruko Conservancy officials, the founder and CEO of Save Giraffes Now Susan Myers pledged approximately 64% of the total costs to help create the giraffe sanctuary and move the animals at last.

The funds allowed NRT to begin constructing the sanctuary. The Sidekick Foundation contributed about 24%, and two U.S. zoos chipped in the other 12%.

Save Giraffes Now, the world’s second-largest nonprofit focused solely on giraffe conservation, has to date contributed two-thirds of the cost of the project.

The nonprofit also supports giraffe projects in eight other African countries on behalf of the iconic animals.

Over the past several years, the water level of Lake Baringo has been rising and the conservancy said it became imperative to move these Rothschild’s (Nubian) giraffe.

The dwindling subspecies of the Northern giraffe once roamed the entire western Rift Valley in Kenya and into Uganda.

Today,  however, fewer than 3,000 are left in Africa, with only about 800 in Kenya.

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