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Endangered giraffe is rescued from a flooding island off Kenya by conservationists

Wildlife conservationists have again traveled through crocodile infested waters of Lake Baringo in Kenya to rescue an endangered giraffe trapped on the flooding Longicharo island.

The daring rescue is the third made by the non-profit Save Giraffes, local community members and other organizations, which vowed to save a total of nine giraffes that became stranded following bouts of intense rainfall.

The recent mission brought an endangered Rothschild’s giraffe, named Lbarnoti, to the mainland by loading him into a massive barge made of steel and empty drums and then transported him a mile down the river to the Roku Conservancy.

As the crew opened the front door of the barge, Lbarnoti quickly took off to find the other two giraffes, Asiwa and Pasaka, which were rescued in December – all three have now been reunited.

The remarkable rescue was organized by Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) who joined forces with the US-based non-profit Save Giraffes Now and an African non-government organization.

Conservationists with KWS, Save Giraffes Now and Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) collaborated with local community members to undertake the monumental task of moving the massive animal to Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy, a protected wildlife reserve.

David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now, said: ‘ ‘It’s heartening to have three safely moved, but we won’t rest until the other six are safe at Ruko Conservancy, as we.’

‘Giraffe are undergoing a silent extinction, and each one matters greatly to the survival of these animals.’

The area has been plagued with intense rain, which increased water levels of Lake Baringo that is surrounded by the peninsula.

But due to the rising river, the piece of land that connects the island to the mainland is completely submerged.

Lbarnoti walked voluntarily onto the custom-made steel barge and sat calmly within the confines of the barge, snaking on acaia seed pod treats.

However, Lbarnoti had to leave behind his young calf, Noelle, which was just born in December to mother Nkarikoni – but the team is set to return for the young giraffe.

‘We must finish these rescues as quickly as possible,’ said Susan Myers, Save Giraffes Now founder and CEO.

‘We’re thankful Noelle is healthy, but we must keep her safe until she is big enough and we can move her to safety.’

These giraffe arrived to the mainland from Longicharo Island, a rocky lava pinnacle studded with acacia trees.

They were originally reintroduced to the peninsula in 2011, in hopes the isolated location would provide shelter from poaching and increase the population in their native Western Kenyan range.

Another giraffe named Asiwa was the first to be rescued in December and unlike Lbarnoti, she was not as willing to make the walk onto the barge.

The team had to place a covering over her eyes and wrap ropes around her body in order to lead her to the boat.

However, she remained calm while floating down the river and eventually made it to the sanctuary.

The animals are Rothschild’s, or Nubian, giraffe, which is a critically endangered subspecies of the Northern giraffe that once roamed the entire western Rift Valley in Kenya and into Uganda.

Today, fewer than 3,000 are left in Africa, with only about 800 in Kenya.

Mike Parkei, a ranger at Ruko Conservancy, said: ‘These giraffe are the heart of our homeland.

‘We knew we had to come together and do everything possible to save them.’

As the lake water slowly claimed the peninsula, the giraffe were forced onto a shrinking slice of land on which to forage.

Conservancy rangers have been taking supplemental food to the island for them, as well as conducting routine health checks.

Maris Lopez
Maris Lopezhttp:////
Hey there! I'm Maris, an American girl who is passionate about adventure, the outdoors and all things travel!


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