The Threatened Kordofan Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis ssp. antiquorum) in Bouba Njidda National Park, Cameroon: Conservation Challenges and Perspectives

11 Jan 2023 Bouba Njidda National Park, Cameroon, Africa Biodiversity | Communities | Habitats | Mammals

Gbénou Justin Didolanvi

The populations of Kordofan giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis antiquorum) are ecologically and genetically unique. They are isolated in the savannahs of northern Cameroon, Garamba national park in DRC (approximately 60 individuals in 2022), western Sudan, and notably in Zakouma national park in Chad. The Kordofan giraffe is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) under criteria A2acd on the IUCN red list. As an important symbol of Africa, and as a tourist and economic attraction, a better understanding of their conservation status is needed, especially as their numbers appear to have plummeted across Africa due to habitat loss, illegal wildlife poaching, and the politically unstable areas they inhabit. While it is important to know the international conservation status as given on the IUCN red list, it is even more important to know the status at the local level in the different habitats where these species are found in isolation in order to set up a regular monitoring system to improve the conservation status of this subspecies that humanity risks losing if nothing is done.

Interview with a Peulh (herder)

Interview with a Peulh (herder)

In Cameroon, very few efforts are focused on the monitoring of the Kordofan giraffe. The last major censing work on this highly endangered giraffe subspecies was in 2008s. The Kordofan Giraffe numbers for Cameroon was estimated at <680, most of which occur in Waza National Park, with low numbers occurring in Bouba Ndjidda National Park and a few in Benoue National Park and the hunting zones outside of these protected areas. As such the numbers was lower in Bouba Ndjidda National Park, the current status is unknown, there is a lack of scientific research on this species. The project intends to describe the current status, the distribution of the Kordofan giraffe population in Bouba Ndjidda National Park; and establish the interactions between humans and wildlife, particularly giraffes, and their implications for conservation. It will provide ecological indicators, useful to construct a biomonitoring plan for the critically endangered subspecies of giraffe in the BNNP and surrounding areas, identify what the giraffe represents for the local population on a social and cultural level around BNNP and the aspects related to potential conflicts.

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