The Ugandan Giraffe and its Precarious Status

30 September 2015

 

The Ugandan Giraffe and its Precarious Status

You may not have been aware of the fact that there are in fact several different types of giraffe. Most of us seem aware of the African elephant and its Indian sub species. There are nine different varieties of this lanky African beast (giraffes are indigenous to the African continent) and one of those beautiful sub species is in imminent danger of disappearing altogether!

The Ugandan Giraffe, or Rothschild’s Giraffe lives on the Great Rift Valley in the eastern central region of Africa is spotted right away for its distinctive white legs. All of its legs are white and not marked in any other style from its feet to its knees; the other eight giraffe sub species have patchwork coat patterns all over, so this is a unique feature to the Ugandan Giraffe.

The Ugandan Giraffe, is living in the wild but protected regions of Uganda and Kenya. There are however some 450 Rothschild's Giraffe currently in captivity and dotted in zoos and wildlife parks across the world but there are not many left in the wild – despite the fact that all the Rift Valley parks are protected by authorities and anti-poaching teams dotted around the Kenyan-Ugandan plains and valleys.

There was once a time when the gracious and beautiful giraffe – sometimes called the Baringo giraffe – was seen across Kenya, Uganda and the Sudan in its thousands, but no more. Thanks to the warring nature of man, there are now no Rothschild's Giraffes left at all in Sudan.

Today the Rothschild's Giraffe numbers around 800 in the wild and can only be found in Kenyan and Ugandan Rift Valley regions. Its fate and future are hanging in the balance though. The Rift Valley is an area where the soil is good and fertile and many farmers choose to live here and plough the land. Trees are often sacrificed for farming and the rich vegetation that is so important to the Rothschild's Giraffe is slowly disappearing forever.

Fortunately there is some hope on the horizon from wildlife conservation groups working in Kenya and Uganda. A captive breeding program is under way in the National Giraffe Centre in Kenya's capital Nairobi. At present, the Rothschild Giraffe can be seen most often in Uganda's Murchison Falls National Park. There are several more often spotted in Lake Nakuru National Park over the border and into Kenya. But awareness of the sub-species' plight has to be highlighted as so few know about the Ugandan Giraffe and its fate.