Giraffe: The Tallest Forgotten Species

Jessica Real | Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Ever Wonder how Giraffe Communicate?
Have you ever been curious about what they might say to each other, or how far their communication can reach? Maybe you see two giraffe next to each other and wonder, “Are they friends?” or “what makes them want to be friends?”

 

If you have ever wondered these questions while watching our 8 resident giraffe at Oakland Zoo you may be surprised to learn that giraffe experts across the world ask the very same questions. Did you know that giraffe are one of the least studied megafauna in Africa? For whatever reason these animals did not grab the attention of our society in a way that invoked our curiosity to study them like the way the lion or elephant has.

 

The first person to truly dedicate her life to the study of giraffe was Anne Innis Dagg in the 1950’s, but her work was ignored for decades simply because she was a woman. There are accounts of giraffe in earlier time periods, but were quite brief, and nothing was done long term. It wasn’t until the early 2000’s that researchers finally began to turn their attention towards the species and long-term studies began.

 

 

Understand and Protecting Giraffe

So what is going happening with giraffe in Africa now? What are we learning? We know that giraffe numbers are declining, and they are doing so fast. With under 90,000 individuals left, the population has seen a 40% drop in just 20 years. Habit loss, drought, war, and human-animal conflict are the biggest factors.

 

Thankfully there is a small group of incredibly dedicated researchers that have made different parts of Africa their home and different types of giraffe their focal point. Since 2008, John Doherty and the Reticulated Giraffe Project have worked to develop a trauma-free way of tracking and collecting data samples from the giraffe population in Kenya, so that he and his team can continue to study the species without any disturbance to their lives. Zoe Muller has done some of the longest studies of the Rothschild Giraffe, with the formation of her organization in 2009, describing the important and complex relationships that exist between giraffe individuals. Monica Bond and Derek Lee began the Wild Nature Institute and their study of Masai giraffe in 2010, beginning the largest land mammal demography study in the world.

 

Take Action for Giraffe

How can you help? Visit Oakland Zoo on Wednesday, June 21st and purchase a ticket to feed one of our reticulated giraffe. Buy a raffle ticket that day to win a painting done by one of our very own and talented Benghazi. All the proceeds to this event will go directly to the Reticulated Giraffe Project to help continue their efforts to save the species. Can’t make it to the zoo that day? Visit any of the listed projects above and make a donation directly. With your help, we can stop the decline of this magnificent and forgotten species.

 

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9777 Golf Links Road Oakland, CA 94605