Rothschild’s giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi (Linnaeus, 1758) in East Africa: A review of population trends, taxonomy and conservation status

Giraffe populations have suffered a 40% decline in the past thirty years, making them a new priority for conservation and there are considerable uncertainty and disagreement over the taxonomic classification of giraffes. Consequently, there has never been a more critical time to fully understand the global population size and distribution of all giraffe subspecies. The Rothschild’s giraffe Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi (Linnaeus, 1758) is arguably one of the most imperilled giraffe subspecies. Once widespread across southern Sudan, Uganda and Kenya, the Rothschild’s giraffe is now confined to a few, isolated and enclosed populations throughout Kenya and Uganda, with only one natural population remaining. Information about Rothschild’s giraffe population size, distribution, and conservation history is patchy, and confined to recondite or inaccessible resources. Here, I present a review of taxonomy, distribution, conservation status and population size of the Rothschild’s giraffe and present the most recent estimate of population sizes based on direct census data. Although the Latin name affixed to Rothschild’s giraffe is subject to discussion, continued reference to this subspecies as G. c. rothschildi is strongly recommended.

Last Updated
January 27, 2021
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