The Houston Zoo is the proud owner of nine giraffes, munching away on lettuce this summer day; they are unaware of the diminishing status of their species. June 21 will mark the first “World Giraffe Day.”
The Houston Zoo is participating in this global event to raise awareness about these esteemed long-necked animals on the longest day of the year.
Zookeeper Kendal Thawley says it’s the Zoo’s duty to support this effort:
“The Houston Zoo is a conservation institution so whenever there is a species that we have that needs help in the wild that definitely something we are going to pay attention to. We were made aware of the fact that giraffe populations are declining in the wild and so we had the opportunity to get that message out there and help people understand that.”
The giraffe population has decreased forty percent since 2004 to less than eighty-thousand individuals, according to conservationists.
The day will feature extra educational events and art made by the giraffes.
Proceeds and donations collected on world giraffe day will go to support the Giraffe conservation foundation.
The executive officer and conservation scientist Dr. Julian Fennesy spoke from the foundation in Namibia, Africa with more:
“The donations from World Giraffe day will be enabling GCF which is the first step to be able to develop a whole sweet of programs to be able to support our first ever giraffe conservationists in the world, is one of the steps.”
“We’ve never had anyone work full time on giraffe ever in the world. This will help provide some core funding, which will then help figure out how many giraffe are there, where they are. We are also finishing the taxonomy, getting the last bit of genetic samples from across Africa to figure out are they species, are they subspecies—and that’s important to figure out the conservation management measures that are required.”
“It will also go into providing educational tools about giraffe across many of the countries in Africa where giraffe are. Also providing technical support on the ground, working with communities, working with governments to help set up de-snaring programs, anti-poaching programs. As well as just the basic, where are the giraffe? How many are there?”