23 June 2023
HOW WE CELEBRATED WORLD GIRAFFE DAY
Saving Meru’s Giants Manager Newton Simiyu reports on a unique initiative to pay tribute to Kenya’s gentle giants and encourage young people to become conservationists.
World Giraffe Day, 21 June, is an important day to celebrate these majestic and gentle creatures who roam our planet. Over the last 30 years, reticulated giraffes have declined by 56% in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia. In Meru, where Born Free works, there is a population of approximately 1,400 reticulated giraffes, representing a significant stronghold for the sub-species.
The theme for this year’s special day was ‘Conserving Giraffes: Preserving Our Natural Heritage’ – emphasising the urgent need to protect giraffes and their habitats for future generations. It highlights the role of conservation efforts in maintaining the ecological balance and safeguarding the biodiversity of our planet.
Born Free is an important part of this effort, and for this year’s celebrations, we took a unique approach and encouraged Kenya’s younger generation to express their passion and feelings through artwork. This followed a memorable opportunity for these young upcoming conservationists to observe wild giraffe through an ecological trip to Meru Park and enjoy educational talks from our team. We are inspiring young people to take action and make a difference to protecting wildlife. By engaging the young generation, we can help ensure that the future of giraffe conservation is in safe hands.
Rapsu and Waki Wario primary schools got involved in this year’s World Giraffe Day celebrations and after an opportunity to create artwork, 100 children, and four teachers embarked on an ecological trip to Meru. The children and were excited to learn about the giraffes and their habitat and Born Free staff led them through the park, pointing out various plant and animal species important to giraffes. The children were thrilled to see the giraffes up close and learn about their behaviour and feeding habits.
The trip was not only educational but also fun-filled, and the children left with a greater appreciation for the environment and the importance of preserving it for future generations.
“World Giraffe Day is a vital day to celebrate these magnificent creatures and raise awareness about their conservation. Let us all join hands in this effort to protect giraffes and ensure that they continue to roam our planet for generations to come.”
Born Free works hard to protect giraffes. Our ‘Twiga* Team’, who patrol Meru National Park, have removed 908 snares in the last year, helping to prevent the loss of precious lives. We also closely monitor the giraffe population, adding to our ID database whenever a new individual is seen. We work closely with stakeholders to understand giraffe population numbers and threats and initiate community-led solutions to protect the giraffes.
World Giraffe Day is a vital day to celebrate these magnificent creatures and raise awareness about their conservation. Let us all join hands in this effort to protect giraffes and ensure that they continue to roam our planet for generations to come.
You can help! Support this extensive conservation, community and education effort by adopting our Meru Giraffe Family today.
*Twiga meaning giraffe in Swahili