, NAIROBI, Kenya, Aug 25 – The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and the Giraffe Conversation Foundation is on Monday set to host the second international conference on giraffes at the Maasai lodge near the Nairobi National Park.
The four-day conference will be taking stock of the current status of the giraffe population in the country and come up with recommendations on their conservation and management.
“We want to come up with better ways of protecting the giraffes because we are worried about the rate at which they are declining,” Dr. Charles Musyoki, Senior Scientist Department of Species Research Programs KWS said.
According the scientist, giraffe numbers in Africa have suffered a 30 percent drop due to habitat encroachment and severe poaching in recent years.
Lately, poaching of elephants has been on focus but other animals like giraffes are also affected as Kenya struggles to preserve its biggest income earner through tourism.
“Giraffes may appear like they are out of danger conservation wise, but they are facing increasing pressures which has impacted on their numbers and distribution in Kenya and elsewhere across the continent,” he said.
Musyoki further indicated that there are nine sub-species of giraffes naturally occurring in the African continent with Kenya being the only country with three of the sub-species.
“Given Kenya’s heritage in terms of giraffe diversity, it is fitting that we will become the first country to develop the first ever conservation strategy dedicated solely to giraffes anywhere on the African continent,” he said.
He said Kenya has a high stake in the preservation of giraffes since ‘it is home to about 60% of the global population of wild Rothschild’s giraffe with Ruma National Park having the single largest meta-population (140+ individuals)’.
The conference with participants from Africa, Europe and America also aims at developing the first ever conservation strategy for giraffes.