ACC Research Partnership to Conserve the Endangered Maasai Giraffe

ACC is leading an innovative research program with the Maasai land associations, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and other conservation partners that tracks the endangered Maasai giraffes by satellite using solar-powered tracking units placed on the…

ACC Research Partnership to Conserve the Endangered Maasai Giraffe

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ACC is leading an innovative research program with the Maasai land associations, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), and other conservation partners that tracks the endangered Maasai giraffes by satellite using solar-powered tracking units placed on the giraffes’ ossicones (horns), a process known as collaring.

On December 11, 2020, a team of scientists from ACC, GCF, and KWF, along with chief guest, Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary of the Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife, Najib Balala, safely and successfully collared 8 Maasai giraffes.

Though Amboseli’s Maasai giraffe population has made a hopeful resurgence, the Maasai giraffe population overall has declined by 40 percent in the last three decades. In July 2019, the Maasai giraffe was added to the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Endangered Species list and the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) passed strict regulations on the trading of giraffe parts.

The collected data will provide a detailed picture of the Maasai giraffes’ movements and behavior patterns, allowing scientists to create data-driven plans that mitigate the impacts of poaching (for meat, bones and hides), land subdivision, and infrastructure development, as well as protect the giraffes’ habitat along with that of other wildlife. This is a vital first-step in the conservation of this majestic animal—a keystone species in East Africa’s ecosystems.