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Giraffes boat home to Kenya sanctuary

Date Published: 14 Feb, 2011
Giraffes boat home to Kenya sanctuary

Rothschild's giraffes on a ferry ride across Kenya’s Lake Baringo

The endangered Rothschild's giraffe has made a spectacular return home after 40 years in an unprecedented and daring ferry ride across Kenya’s Lake Baringo. “We have been waiting for four years since we began our conservancy to see these animals return home” said Richard Lotuliapus, Chairman of the Board of the Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy where the animals will live in safety. Originally named after Lake Baringo, one of the Great Rift's lakes in Kenya, the Rothschild's giraffe is one of the most endangered sub-species of giraffe in the world, with a population numbering only a few hundred.
It was a joint operation between Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT) and the Ruko Conservancy which brought eight Rothschild's giraffe by lorry from Soysambu Conservancy and then by barge to the community-owned sanctuary on the shores of Lake Baringo.This landmark translocation is reestablishing Rothschild's giraffe in an area where it had disappeared.  The return of the giraffe is symbolic of the communities’ commitment to conservation and will boost tourism revenue to the local people. “We have a huge number of visitors every year who come to see the Lake Baringo’s magnificent bird-life and experience the tranquility of the lake so having these giraffe back in their native home gives tourists yet another reason to come and experience it for themselves” said Ross Withey, owner of Samatian Island Lodge, Ruko conservancies’ tourism partner.The space and security for giraffe on community land will provide a long term future for the species beyond the confines of fenced sanctuaries which today hold all the remaining Rothschild’s giraffe.  This operation was made possible through generous support from Ernie Burgess and Tusk Trust, Born Free Foundation, Samatian Island Lodge and the Giraffe Conservation Fund.


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