In Summary
  • Delegates at the convention in Geneva voted overwhelmingly to move the giraffes into the Annex II appendix.
  • The move indicates that the species needs to be tracked and regulated in order to ensure that trade in giraffe is sustainable.

Will my children ever get to see a giraffe? I mull over the question as I feed a gentle giant called Betty at the Giraffe Centre, Nairobi.

Betty’s long, purple tongue reaches out and grabs food from the palm of my hand, slathering my hands with saliva.

“You should kiss it. I hear its saliva has anti-bacterial properties,” says George Wright, a tourist from Chicago, USA.

Betty is one of the nine Rothschild giraffes rescued by the Giraffe Centre.

For Betty and her adopted family of giraffes, life is bliss. They are showered with attention and they are spoilt for choice when it comes to food as thousands of people from around the world flock to the centre to feed and interact with them.

The Giraffe Centre partners with Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) to give Betty and her family world class care.

But not all giraffes are as lucky as Betty and her family. The giraffe has been cited as Critically Endangered by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

TRACKING AND REGULATION

Delegates at the convention in Geneva voted overwhelmingly to move the giraffes into the Annex II appendix. The move indicates that the species needs to be tracked and regulated in order to ensure that trade in giraffe is sustainable.

According to the International Union of Conservation of Nature, the giraffe population has fallen drastically by 40 per cent over the past three decades.

Today, there are only 100,000 giraffes across Africa.

Kenya hosts 36 per cent of the giraffe population in Africa but its population in the country has declined by 67 per cent since the 1970s.

Presently, there are nine species of Giraffes across Africa. In Kenya, there are three – Reticulated, Rothschild and the Masai giraffe.

Their endangerment has been attributed to poaching, habitat loss and diseases.

“We have had a lot of problems when it comes to illegal poaching for game meat,” says Ngugi Gecaga, the KWS service spokesperson.

Just two months ago, KWS uncovered 800kg of bush meat that was being illegally traded at the popular Burma Market in Nairobi’s Eastlands.

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