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  • Writer's pictureZoe Cawthorn

Giraffes Returned to Ugandan Wildlife Reserve after 40 Years of Local Extinction

Critically endangered Nubian Giraffes have been successfully translocated back into The Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve in Uganda. Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) supported the Uganda Wildlife Authority in transporting the first group of five giraffes, which arrived safely on 29th October, after an arduous 16-hour journey.

Photo credit: Rayno Egner

The Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is the second largest conservation area in Uganda and was once home to the largest giraffe population in the country. However, by the end of the 1980's not a single one remained. Combating the impacts of oil exploration activities and bushmeat poaching, the Uganda Wildlife Authority has successfully protected the giraffes in the Murchison Falls National Park, which now holds the largest number of Nubian giraffes in the world. To safeguard the future of giraffe in Uganda, the Uganda Wildlife Authority, with the support of GCF and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo (USA), are creating additional populations of these giraffes in the country. The 15 new giraffes being relocated into the Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve will be the fifth population of giraffe in Uganda.

The first five of these Nubian giraffes were released into their new home this week after making the long journey from Murchison Falls. Unexpected rain created heavy mud, slowing their progress to Pian Upe - a journey which took 16 hours.

Photo credit: Rayno Egner

This wonderful conservation effort by the Uganda Wildlife Authority and their partners has given great hope to the future survival of one of the most threatened subspecies of giraffe. Thanks to their great work, the giraffe population in Uganda is increasing, despite a global decline in giraffe numbers.

And it's not just the giraffe themselves who will benefit from the relocation project. The Pian Upe Wildlife Reserve is known for its scenic beauty. With giraffe being added to the list of iconic species that can be found in the reserve (such as hyenas, cheetahs, cape buffalo, roan antelope, dik dik, aardvark and giant ostriches), revenue from tourism is expected to rise. The surrounding community will benefit too, through the Uganda Wildlife Authority's revenue sharing scheme (20% of park gate collections go to the community) and through employment opportunities.

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