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A Daring Giraffe Rescue

A group of Rothschild’s (Nubian) giraffe were marooned on Longicharo Island, a rocky lava pinnacle in the middle of western Kenya’s Lake Baringo. The rising lake levels turned the peninsula into an island, trapping the giraffes. In a dramatic rescue, two were transported across the lake on a makeshift raft, to Ruko Community Conservancy.

Today fewer than 3,000 Rothschild’s giraffes are left in Africa, with about 800 in Kenya. “The hope is that this is just the first step of reintroducing these giraffes back to their historical home across the Western Rift Valley, hopefully over the next 20-30 years,” explained David O’Connor, president of Save Giraffes Now who helped orchestrate this inspiring move with the Northern Rangelands Trust and Kenya Wildlife Service.

My photography of this rescue was published by media around the world, including CNN in a feature “Giraffes are stuck on a flooding island. But the rescues have begun,” and in National Geographic Magazine with “How former foes worked together to help save these rare giraffes.” My photograph of Pasaka, a younger Rothschild’s (Nubian) giraffe, during his rescue was honored with the First Place 2021 World Press Photo Nature, Singles award.

Learn more, including how to get involved, by following Save Giraffes Now.

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