The last African white giraffes live in farmers’ fields

The giraffe population (Giraffa camelopardalis) in Niger is the last representative of the peralta sub-species which lived throughout West Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century. Protected since the 1970s, giraffes cohabit with humans in cultivated landscapes. This may not have appeared to pose many problems in the past, but the relationship between farmers and giraffes has deteriorated with the expansion of cultivated land and that of the giraffe population, with reported cases of giraffes damaging crops. A survey was conducted in all the affected villages in the Kouré area to establish the nature, severity and distribution of the damage and to evaluate the local populations’ perception of the problem. Cowpeas are fed upon in the field at harvest time and in the granaries, as well as ripe mangoes, during the most critical period for giraffes’ nutrition. The vast majority of farmers interviewed consider giraffes to be rather a problem in spite of tourism revenues they can obtain from them. This opinion has individually little correlation with damage rate on crops or easy access to tourism revenues. The damage risk factors are first and foremost considered as uncontrollable by the farmers, even if technical protection measures could easily be put in place locally. The inter-relationships between the socio-economic context and the way the problem is perceived are discussed.

Publish DateJune 4, 2020
Last UpdatedJanuary 27, 2021
Size377.26 KB