June 17, 2016
Celebrate World Giraffe Day 2016
- as seen by -Jennifer Loveless
In late January of this year, I participated in field research in a small conservancy near Lake Nakuru, Kenya. Called Soysambu Conservancy, it might not be a familiar name for places to visit, but it has a very important role in giraffe conservation. The conservancy holds over 100 individual Rothschild’s giraffe – equal to one tenth of the entire population. Rothschild’s giraffe are one of 9 subspecies of giraffe that are becoming increasingly more endangered in the wild. The Rothschild’s Giraffe Project is the first long term study of giraffe providing valuable information about social structure, herd dynamics, and individual behavior in the wild.
As part of this project, I worked in the field to document behavior, herd structure, and individuals by collecting photographic evidence of each giraffe in a specific location (above, a male.) Throughout my short time there, I grew to recognize certain individuals and began to notice the similarities in behavior that I see in our giraffes housed at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. It is amazing to see that some behaviors translate between the wild and captive animals.
On June 18, 19, and 21, the Bronx Zoo is celebrating it’s second annual World Giraffe Day. Visitors can participate in an activity to be a field researcher for a day and learn to identify giraffe through photos just like I did in Kenya. Learn about how to help their wild cousins through keeper chats at our giraffe exhibit at noon and 3 pm (11:30 am and 2:30 pm on Tuesday) with a training demonstration at 1:30 pm in the Carter Giraffe building.