An aged giraffe drowned after heavy rains in southwestern Niger. “It rained a lot, and the waters invaded a valley where the giraffes sought refuge before being trapped,” the West African country’s water and forests services chief Lamine Saidou said.
More than 30 other giraffes survived thanks to rescue efforts by locals. “When the giraffes got stuck, local people helped them get out, pushing them and shouting at them,” Saidou said.
“But a large 25-year-old male weighing around a tonne and a half died before help arrived,” said Saidou, who is also in charge of the Kouré Giraffe Reserve.
The animal exhausted himself trying to get out of the mud which had already fully covered him, and he died of drowning, Saidou said.
A giraffe’s lifespan in the wild is thought to be between 20 and 30 years.
To avoid further tragedy, with more heavy rain in the forecast, local people and water and forestry officials have led giraffe herds to higher ground, Saidou said.
Around 20 years ago, a small herd of Niger giraffes, a subspecies distinguished by its lighter color that survives only in West Africa, found a safe haven from poachers and predators in the Kouré region.
Today they are a key tourist attraction in Niger, enjoying the protection of local people and conservation groups.
From an initial population of 50 in 1996, their numbers grew to 664 by 2019, according to the environment ministry.
#Niger🇳🇪,some 30 #giraffes were trapped in a flooded area of the village of Yelma. Most of them were able to scape but the older male drowned. The rescue and surveillance team even though equipped with a #giraffe tracker could not access the area due to heavy #flood. He died 😢 pic.twitter.com/awSnq8r4hK— Birdson Mahamane Dansounsou Zoubair (@birdson6) August 5, 2020
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