The population size and range of giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis have been greatly reduced in Africa in the past century, resulting in geographical isolation of local populations and some herds surviving at the edge of the species’ preferred range. Numerous factors have contributed to these declines, but historical analysis indicates that habitat loss and fragmentation, human encroachment, disease and poaching are the main threatening processes. These processes can be expected to continue to impact on giraffe populations, particularly as human populations grow and needs for land and resources increase.
This study used field data and laboratory analyses to investigate the taxonomy, behaviour and ecology of desert-dwelling giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis angolensis in the northern Namib Desert. This population resides at the extreme of the giraffe’s range.
The genetic architecture, behaviour, ecology, home range and diet of Namibian giraffe was investigated together with a brief overview on the history of conservation and management in the Kunene Region. Long-term research on the population’s status, range, behaviour, social structure, habitat requirements, and ecology would help to provide a better understanding of the giraffe’s adaptation to the arid environment, while focused legislation would enable increased control of communal lands and continue to benefit community-based conservancies.