About The Somali Giraffe
With only 15,000 individuals left in the wild, the Reticulated giraffe has experienced a 56% population decline in the last three decades from an approximate 33,000 individuals. In Kenya alone, according to the National Giraffe Action Plan for Giraffe, the reticulated giraffes faced a 67% population decline from the 1970s to 2018. The recent Kenya Wildlife Service national wildlife census revealed that the North-Eastern region of Kenya hosts the largest population of Reticulated giraffes. However, across the border in Somalia, the population of Reticulated giraffes is still unknown.
World Distribution & Range:
The historic range of the Reticulated giraffe spanned southern Somalia, southern Ethiopia and northern Kenya regions majorly occupied by the Somali people hence the name Somali giraffe. In Kenya, the reticulated giraffes’ former range is bound by the rift valley to the west, the Tana River to the southeast and most regions north and east of Mount Kenya as far as the borders with Ethiopia and Somalia.
Alias: Somali Giraffe
Somali Name: Geri
Scientific Name: Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata
IUCN Conservation Status: Endangered
Habitat & Ecology:
The reticulated giraffes inhabit savannahs and open woodlands with various species of Acacia trees.
The main threats facing Somali giraffes are habitat loss (including conversion to agriculture, infrastructure and urban development, and land degradation), habitat fragmentation and poaching. Substantial increase in human population and livestock, particularly in Kenya which hosts a majority of the Reticulated giraffe, has seen increased pressure on natural resources resulting in the loss of giraffe habitat. The Somali giraffe regions are also increasingly experiencing unpredictable, localized rainfall patterns and extended drought periods that have devastating effects on wildlife populations. Bushmeat consumption is increasing which in turn is increasing the numbers of Somali giraffes that are being targeted by poachers. Other factors pushing the Somali giraffe towards extinction include civil conflicts, terrorism and the cross-border bush meat trade.