Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) Executive Director and Conservation Scientist Dr Julian Fennessy has commended the government for its excellent conservation methods which have kept the giraffe population growing.
He was speaking at the launch of a giraffe spotting website designed by Polytechnic of Namibia last week.
The giraffe population is on a decrease with an estimated 140 000 giraffes recorded in the late 1990 compared to the current estimate of under 80 000 giraffes remaining in the African wilderness.
The decrease is due to illegal hunting and poaching of giraffe for their meat and then the growth of the population, in turn needing space for agricultural purposes.
“Giraffes have already become extinct in seven African giraffe range states. And to make matters worse, this is happening largely unnoticed. Our limited knowledge regarding the current status of giraffe as a species and the currently recognised nine sub species pose a significant threat to their long term survival in Africa.
“It harnesses the power of citizen scientists, anyone, anywhere in Africa who sees a giraffe in the wild can upload a picture and help improve our misunderstanding of these large mega fauna and in turn help to protect them,” Dr. Fennessy said.
He added that while there are similar websites that allow people to record their wildlife observations, there is none to record giraffe sightings.
Thus this website will allow anyone to upload photos of giraffe together with the location where the image was taken and other information such of herd size, sex and age class of the giraffe.
Giraffespotter.Org was created by Polytechnic of Namibia students in the department of software engineering as a final year project inspired by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation scientists.
Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN) rectorate special advisor Errol Tyobeka delivering a speech on behalf of Dr Tjama Tjivikua noted that such creation are part of their community engagement.
“Community Engagement is a prevalent concept in Higher Education because it shapes the structure and operations of a University, especially one like ours that has a strong focus on applied research and work integrated learning set in place to instil a sense of responsibility to better the communities that our students come from through the knowledge that they gain in the classroom,” he said.
He also stressed that at PoN, students are attuned to the pressing issues of the environment that we are operating in.
GCF is the world’s first and only charitable foundation dedicated solely to the conservation and management of giraffe in the wild.
It was founded in 2009 by a small and dedicated group of trustees with a strong concern for giraffe and their conservation in Africa.