The giraffe population among other species in Aberdare Country Club (ACC) sanctuary has been viewed by the management to exert unhealthy pressure to the habitat. Kenya Wildlife Service was informed of this situation and sent a team of scientists to carry out a rapid assessment and come up with recommendations. The team concluded that, since 1988 when the giraffes were introduced into the sanctuary there has been a steady increase in their population and subsequently this impacted negatively on the habitat. This was manifested by defoliation of the highly palatable browse of the giraffe diet. It was also noted that even the lowly palatable, Euclea divinorum, was also defoliated. A total of 43 giraffes were counted as of January 2008, and one of the recommendations were to destock the giraffe population and leave a recommended number of between 15 -20 individuals.
The capture and translocation preparations began in July 2008, with a reconnaissance survey to establish the capture sites and routes to be used for transportation of animals. The actual capture, a collaborative effort between Kenya Wildlife Service and Lewa Wildlife Conservancy began in mid August and came to a close in end of August 2008. A total of 26 giraffes were captured and taken to Sera Wildlife Conservancy. Three giraffes died during transit and this accounted for 11.5% mortality which is considered within acceptable limits for giraffe capture.
All the captured animals were transported directly to Sera Wildlife Conservancy where they were held in a boma for six weeks before finally releasing them to the wild. Two more animals died during acclimatization phase in the boma.
One of the main objectives of the exercise was to reduce the giraffe population within the sanctuary to manageable levels. We managed to remove a total of 26 giraffes, and if the actual figures of giraffe population within the sanctuary then were 43, then only 17 giraffes were left and hence we attained the objective. More adult males were left within the sanctuary and we recommend that another translocation exercise be organized to remove these adult males and swap with others from another area.