Higher than expected growth rate of the Endangered West African giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis peralta: a successful human–wildlife cohabitation

The West African giraffe is a genetically unique population represented only by the subspecies Giraffa camelopardalis peralta, categorized as Endangered on the IUCN Red List. These giraffes live outside protected areas, without natural predators and share their habitat with local people and their livestock. This study provides demographic data on this poorly studied megaherbivore and documents its recovery. We analysed the results of photo-identification censuses from 1996 to 1999 (count data) and from 2005 to 2008 (count and demographic data). From 1996 to 1999 the annual growth rate was c. 19% because of an unbalanced population structure after a period of severe poaching. From 2005 to 2008 an annual growth rate of c. 12–13% was estimated from both count data and demographic parameters. This value fits with the maximum growth rate calculated for a browser species based on the allometric relationship linking growth rate and body mass. During the period 2005–2008 adult and subadult females had a constant survival rate of 0.94 and a constant recapture rate of 0.97. Annual calf survival rate was 1. Observed sex ratio at birth was 0.57 and mean reproductive success was 0.257. Generation time was estimated to be 9.66 years. This spectacular population growth was mostly attributed to the absence of predators and the ongoing monitoring to limit illegal hunting.

Last Updated
January 26, 2021
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