Rescue operation for giraffes stranded on flooding island in Kenya

Rothschild's giraffe Asiwa rescued from Longicharo Island, Kenya, photo: Ami Vitale/Save Giraffes Now/ Reuters
Rothschild's giraffe Asiwa rescued from Longicharo Island, Kenya, photo: Ami Vitale/Save Giraffes Now/ Reuters

Conservationists are working to rescue giraffes stranded on Longicharo island in Lake Baringo in Kenya. Relentless rains have increased lake levels, which began to swallow up the island where the giraffes live.

In total, eight critically endangered Rothschild’s giraffes have to be rescued from the island.

The Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Save Giraffes Now and Kenya’s Northern Rangelands Trust rescued two already with a custom-made floating crate and is working to rescue the remaining six from the island.

“There is great urgency to execute this rescue,” said David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now, in a statement. “With giraffes undergoing a silent extinction, every one we can protect matters.”

Asiwa, a female giraffe, was the first to leave Longicharo island. She was transported to her new home, a 4,400-acre fenced sanctuary within the Ruko Conservancy. The juvenile giraffe Pasaka followed a few days later.

Only 3,000 Rothschild’s giraffes left in Africa, 800 of which in Kenya. The move to the sanctuary will protect them from poachers and predators.

“These giraffes are the heart of our homeland,” said Mike Parkei, a ranger at Ruko Conservancy. “We knew we had to come together and do everything possible to save them.” 

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