Population Structure and Spatial Ecology of Kordofan Giraffe

Congratulations to Matthias D’haen and colleagues for their new publication, published in the most recent edition of Ecology & Evolution, to highlight the rapidly declining population of Kordofan giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum) across the Garamba complex in the Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the last remaining populations of the species in the wild.  Estimated at 45 individuals throughout the Garamba complex, populations of Kordofan giraffe have declined by more than 85% over the last three decades.

This research focuses on the isolated, easternmost population of the species, providing an assessment of changes in the population over time based on aerial surveys, the spatial distribution, and home range. Looking forward to next steps!

Location of Garamba National Park and adjacent Hunting Reserves, Democratic Republic of Congo.  Figure also shows the range map of all giraffe (sub)species.  Source: Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Understanding the Spatial Requirements of Reticulated Giraffe

Excited about the progress made this week with partners Giraffe Conservation Foundation, San Diego Zoo Global, and the Kenya Wildlife Service, to fit 25-30 reticulated giraffe with satellite transmitters.  So far, we have fitted 12 tracking devices on animals across Laikipia and Samburu counties in northern Kenya, with no injuries to report.  All animals got back on their feet quickly after being processed by the team.  Across this region, less than 5% of the habitat of this species is formally protected, with reticulated giraffe declining by about 50% over the past 30 years.  We hope to collect many years of data on the movements of these individuals, providing the basis for an improved scientific understanding of the species’ habitat requirements that will hopefully be used to inform policy across the region.

The team is now headed further north to capture the remaining animals, requiring the use of a helicopter to efficiently find and tag individuals.  Immense landscapes up here.  Looking forward to seeing the data we’re receiving and further engagement with the team.  Seeing these giraffe face to face has been truly amazing!  Can’t wait for next steps.

An adult reticulated giraffe, fitted with a satellite tracking device on its ossicone and providing near real-time information on its movements on an hourly temporal interval.