Eight giraffes have been trapped on an island by crocodile-infested floods that are expected to rise in Kenya, prompting rescue operations.
An global team of conservationists, wildlife specialists, and local people have previously rescued one of the 16-foot-tall giraffes using a specially made, handcrafted steel boat. However, the remaining seven giraffes are now in a “life or death” situation, as described by the Texas-based conservation non-profit. Now is the time to save the giraffes.
The Rothschild’s (Nubian) giraffe, a severely endangered subspecies of the Northern giraffe, is thought to number less than 800 in Kenya and 2,000 across the continent. Environmentalists had thought that since the giraffes were relocated to Lake Baringo in western Kenya in 2011, they would be secure from poaching and that their number would grow.
Rains have caused the lake’s waters to steadily increase up to six inches each day, resulting in the flooding of an area of land. Kenya Wildlife Service, Save Giraffes Now, Northern Rangelands Trust, and inhabitants of the Ruko town have teamed up to rescue the animals and relocate them to a sanctuary approximately four miles away.
Conservationists have been feeding the giraffes and undertaking monthly health checks to ensure their survival as a result of the island’s seclusion. The villagers of Ruko built a special boat to rescue the pets while this was going on. The animals are kept from jumping out by reinforced sidewalls on the barge’s drums, while the steel framework floats on top of them.
So, days after the rescue team used this specially designed barge to rescue one of the giraffes, Asiwa, who had become separated from the others on a remote area of the newly constructed island.
“Fortunately, the rescue is off to an excellent start, as Asiwa was the most endangered giraffe, stranded on an island that had flooded to the point that she had less than an acre remaining. The Ruko community is overjoyed that she has been rescued. “Here’s hope the next few days are similarly productive,” David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now, told Newsweek.
Two more giraffes will be transported tomorrow, with the other animals being saved in the coming weeks.