Monday, February 15, 2010

Endangered giraffes in West Africa

The giraffe population in West Africa has been already listed as an endangered. This is mostly because of the habitat loss and poaching. Today, there are only around 200 West African giraffes remaining, and although this is a very small number it is 4 times bigger than it was in 1990s when there was only around 50 giraffes. This means that the conservation efforts in last fifty years were quite successful.

But this still isn't enough and now for the first time in history conservationists have started equipping giraffes with satellite collars for better monitoring, which should help them to further improve the population number. This has never been done before, and when you think about it is quite challenging to equip collars due to the giraffe's long neck.

In order to do so the conservationists were first thinking of anesthetizing the giraffes, but this has to be done very carefully since giraffa's heart can not be slowed for more than around half an hour because otherwise not enough blood reaches the brain, and the giraffe could die in the process. Therefore the conservationists gave up on this idea, and decided to hold down giraffe while putting the collar on. This is the more demanding way but there is no fear that giraffe will die which can happen during the anesthesia.

Data from the GPS collars should ensure the vital insight into the problems that giraffe population encounters in West Africa, and knowing all the problems will make conservation efforts more efficient since conservationists will know more precisely what are they against up.

The most important factors that contributed to decline in West African giraffe population are habitat loss, and poaching but some other factors are also making conservation efforts difficult like for instance competition among giraffes, and frequent droughts.

Today, there are only around 200 West African giraffes remaining in wild.

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