Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants

by Born Free Foundation
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Save Elephants And Giraffes - Africa's Giants
Giraffes of Meru -  George Logan
Giraffes of Meru - George Logan

Thanks to your wonderful support of this life-saving conservation project, here’s some fantastic news from Meru National Park in Kenya. Here, with your help, we protect rare, reticulated giraffes and majestic savannah elephants – both officially listed as ‘Endangered’ by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature.

As we reported last time, you help our newly employed Twiga* Team carry out daily patrols to help keep giraffes safe. The team is removing up to 100 wire snares each month – illegally set by poachers to trap food. With their long legs picking their way through dense undergrowth, giraffes can be especially vulnerable to these deadly nooses.

But that’s not all. To support conservation, our team is also working on a giraffe database. They have already identified an incredible 150 individual giraffes, making a note of individual markings – each giraffe can be identified by its unique spot pattern, similar to a human fingerprint.

This work is vitally important as this research informs our conservation efforts. Meru is home to some 1,600 reticulated giraffes, 10% of the global population, so is an essential stronghold for this endangered subspecies. Reticulated giraffes have declined by 56% in the past 30 years, so every single giraffe matters!

Meanwhile, after years of good rainfall there are drought conditions in much of Kenya including Meru – which is tough for people and wildlife. Herbivores struggle to find enough food, but elephants can cope a little better as they eat shrubs, roots and trees as well as grass.

In such difficult times there can be increased pressure between people and wildlife, which is why our work and your support is more important than ever. Thank you for all you do to protect rare giraffes and elephants!

*Swahili for giraffe

A baby elephant in Meru   George Logan
A baby elephant in Meru George Logan

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The Twiga team in action!
The Twiga team in action!

July 2022: Female rangers on the frontline of conservation

Thank you for choosing to support our appeal to save elephants and giraffes in Meru Conservation Area in Kenya.

On World Ranger Day 2022, we honoured the courageous and dedicated individuals working long hours in tough, dangerous conditions to protect threatened wildlife, tackle illegal hunting and stop poachers.

Not least our intrepid new five-person Twiga Team, based in Born Free’s spiritual homeland of Meru National Park in Kenya. Twiga is Swahili for giraffe and, after months of expert training from Kenya Wildlife Service, our team has been out on patrol removing deadly snares and keeping rare reticulated giraffe safe.

The team includes 28-year-old Jacqueline Ntinyari: “I was born in Meru County in Kanjoo village along the fence line of Meru Park. After school I ventured into small scale farming but, in 2021, I got a job at Born Free as a Saving Meru’s Giants Twiga Eco Scout.

“I carry out de-snaring activities, and monitor elephants and giraffes to help us know their population status and trends, and the threats they face. I became a ranger because I had the passion for conservation. I am very proud of my position because it has given me a chance to conserve and to know that, what men can do, women can also do!

“Every woman can do conservation work if they create a positive mind. Women are very close to nature because they play a livelihood role, which relies upon the stability of the environment around them, and its decline has impacted women disproportionally to men. I thank Born Free for taking me to Kenya Wildlife Service Law Enforcement Academy where I gained enough skills to work.

"As a woman we face a lot in the field, including loneliness, as we don’t live with our families. I love my job so much and will spend the rest of my life protecting animals because, without wildlife, our country is not economically sound. I will live to fight for these animals to live freely, as they have the right to.”

25-year-old Amina Wajua is one of Jacqueline’s colleagues: “I am from Mukothima Ward in Tharaka Nithi county and a college graduate. I come from a community that borders Meru National Park, hence have lived with these animals since my childhood.

“Like Jacqueline, my main responsibility as a community ranger in the Twiga Team is de-snaring activities, as well as elephant and giraffe monitoring. We do foot patrols to remove snares set by poachers to trap animals. I love being close to animals and have a deep passion to conserve wildlife. I am proud to be an Eco Scout because it has helped me to multitask duties and become more flexible to walk long distances and long hours. It was a challenge for me to leave my family behind and go for training, but we need more women to engage in protecting wildlife!”

Thank you for your continued support.

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The tiny calf was thankfully rescued just in time
The tiny calf was thankfully rescued just in time

Thank you for choosing to support our appeal to save elephants and giraffes in Meru Conservation Area in Kenya.

Thanks to your support, our team were recently able to assist in saving the life of a baby savannah elephant who had fallen into a borehole and was unable to get out.

Earlier this month, our team in Meru National Park, was contacted by Kenya Wildlife Service to help rescue a young calf near Korbesa platoon base in Bisandi. The infant had fallen into a borehole, created to provide clean drinking water for livestock, and was unable to get out despite the desperate attempts of his mother to save him.

“We suspect he had spent the whole night there,” explained Irena Kanga, an intern with our new Save Meru’s Giants team, dedicated to elephant and giraffe conservation and funded with the help of our supporters. “On arrival we found the mother trying to rescue her calf, but the borehole was extremely treacherous.”

The Kenya Wildlife Service rangers had to scare the mother away with blank bullets to allow the frightened baby to be rescued, using ropes. It was extremely difficult but, fortunately, the youngster was still in good condition. After his joyful reunion with his mother, our team was delighted to see him happily suckling to make up for a long night without feeding.

Meanwhile, our giraffe guardian team have also reported good news in the area: in a recent census in Meru and neighbouring Kora parks, a total of 529 rare giraffes were counted – great to know that our team are helping to keep them safe.

As you can see, every single elephant and giraffe matters to our dedicated team and, thanks to your incredible support, Born Free’s work continues to keep them safe in the wild where they belong and to support their care and conservation.

Thank you for your continued support.

Mother and calf were pictured reunited
Mother and calf were pictured reunited
The borehole was too deep for the calf to escape
The borehole was too deep for the calf to escape

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Born Free Foundation

Location: Horsham, West Sussex - United Kingdom
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Twitter: @BornFreeFDN
Project Leader:
Victoria Lockwood
Horsham, West Sussex United Kingdom
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