Conservation Status of Kordofan Giraffe in Zakouma National Park

17 Oct 2018 Zakouma National Park, Chad, Africa Mammals

Dominique Rhoades

This project is the first census of Kordofan Giraffe in Chad, taking place in Zakouma National Park. It will directly impact on understanding the conservation status of Kordofan giraffe in Chad, identifying their conservation needs. An accurate population number and structure will be established with photo identification, building the starting point for developing a population trend. Predator interactions, habitat preferences and carrying capacity will also be researched. The project is supported by and findings will be shared with African Parks Network (APN), Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), other organisations and governments to work towards conservation planning for the future of Kordofan Giraffe.

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The Kordofan Giraffe Project will be the first dedicated focus on giraffe in Chad. With the research site thought to be home to 50% of the overall population in Africa, it is vital to get a clear picture of the giraffe population and their needs to adequately implement a successful conservation strategy.

Field work will take place between November – May each year, road conditions permitting. This is the dry season, when the research area is navigable by road.

Daily drives will be undertaken to find, and photograph every giraffe encountered, noting GPS location, sex, age, behaviour and predator scars. We will collate all this data, as well as data from GPS units we will attach to between 10-25 giraffe in the first season, so we can monitor them throughout the wet season.

Camera trap images will hopefully give a better understanding of unseen or night time behaviours, as well as at carcass sites if encountered, to see what scavenging or predatory behaviour is evident.

All this will start to provide us with population dynamic information within the park, and if the giraffe are leaving the park at all.

The project will contribute base-line data to a globally data-deficient sub-species; this will enable us to work with our partners the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, African Parks Network and The Republic of Chad Government to construct a conservation management plan and will allow IUCN to re-assess Kordofan Giraffe. This assessment has now been done and they are now listed as Critically Endangered.

The aim is to form a giraffe working group within Chad while the project is on-going, and at the end of four years research to build a conservation strategy plan for Chad.