A total of 13 giraffes have been relocated from South Africa and parts of Malawi to the latter’s Majete Wildlife Reserve, establishing the park’s first ever giraffe population.
Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife (DNPW), the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and conservation non-profit African Parks worked together to bring the giraffes to their new home in the wildlife reserve, which is located in southern Malawi.
Nine of the giraffes were translocated from a private reserve in South Africa and the other four were moved from Nyala Park in Malawi. The giraffes’ journey from South Africa was the first of its kind, with the graceful giants being transported 2,500 km to their new homes in the Malawi reserve.
The South African giraffes’ journey began in early October of this year, and the giraffes arrived safely in Malawi on 19 November.
Craig Hay, Park Manager for Majete Wildlife Reserve, explains that the park is a suitable environment for giraffes and says he hopes their introduction into the park will further increase the existing biodiversity.
“Majete contains ideal habitats for giraffe as well as the needed protection to provide them and all the other wildlife here the security they need. We hope to establish a healthy population to increase biodiversity here, and boost tourism to increase Majete’s economic value for local people, while at the same time support regional efforts to conserve this magnificent species,” Hay says.
Hay says the partnership between DNPW and Majete Wildlife Reserve has created a vibrant ecosystem, with Africa’s most iconic animals finding a home in Malawi.
South Africa has a robust giraffe population compared to Malawi, where only 30 giraffes – the country’s national species – remain.
Global giraffe numbers are in decline, and to the extent that the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species recently declared several giraffe subspecies critically endangered.
Two Kenyan giraffe species, the Nubian and the Kordofan giraffes, are among these critically endangered species, and this is largely due to habitat loss and poaching.
The translocated giraffes were moved to Malawi in a bid to increase population numbers and conservation efforts, boost local tourism and provide social development in the region.
Director of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation Dr Julian Fennessy explains the importance of the translocation for the species: “Introducing giraffe in Majete is an example of how collaborative partnerships can make a difference to save giraffe in the wild before it is too late,” she says.
Rigorous planning went into introducing the giraffes to the park to ensure that the newly-introduced species are able to thrive.
“Without giraffes, the African landscape is a poorer place and we continue to work with the great partners to make a difference,” Fennessy says.
Since 2003 Malawi’s DNPW, African Parks and the local community have worked together to introduce more than 2,900 animals to Majete Wildlife Reserve to revitalise the ecosystem, increase biodiversity and increase socio-economic development. A large number of lions, rhinos, elephants and giraffes have moved to Majete, providing a home to more than 12,000 animals.
Enhanced law enforcement has been implemented to combat poaching and create a safe environment in which giraffes and other animals can thrive.
Picture: African Parks/ Giraffes