Population Status and Trend of the Maasai Giraffe in the Mid Kenya-Tanzania Borderland

Among the nine sub-species of giraffes, the Maasai giraffe is the most widespread and common in Northern and Southern Kenya. Although it’s considered by the IUCN to be a species of no conservation concern, they have been reported to have declined in some of their range areas mostly due to bush meat activities, habitat fragmentation and loss. There are also concerns recent climatic changes especially prevalence of droughts is increasingly becoming another threat to their survival. In this regard, this study examined the status and trend of the Maasai giraffe in the Kenya-Tanzania border after the 2007 to 2009 drought. Amboseli had the highest giraffe number (averaging 2, 062.5 ± 534.7 giraffes), followed by a distant Lake Natron area (725.8 ± 129.4 giraffes), Magadi/Namanga (669.5 ± 198.0 giraffes), and lastly West Kilimanjaro area (236.5 ± 47.8 giraffes). Further, the proportion of giraffes were highest in Amboseli (55.09% ± 5.65%) followed by Lake Natron area (20.98% ± 3.42%), Magadi/Namanga area (16.35% ± 3.83%), and lastly West Kilimanjaro (7.58% ± 2.12%). But in terms of population growth after droughts, giraffe had positive growth in all locations in the borderland, with Magadi leading (+339.82 ± 329.99) followed Lake Natron area (+37.62 ± 83.27), Amboseli area (+38.11 ± 7.09), and lastly West Kilimanjaro (+3.21 ± 57.95.27). Their wet season population and density was much higher than that of the dry season. However, though the species was widely spread in the borderland, they seemed to avoid the region between Lake Magadi and Amboseli which is traversed by the Nairobi-Namanga highway both in wet and dry season. There is a need to develop a collaborative management framework for cross-border conservation to enhance their protection, conservation and genetic linkage.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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