Giraffe Ambassadors Network

The Giraffe Ambassadors Network is a new project we are launching in Kenya. It is a community-led, participatory approach to giraffe conservation whereby local community members and leaders are appointed as “Giraffe Ambassadors” to act as guardians and champions for giraffes in their area.

Each Giraffe Ambassador will become a key person in their community whose role it is to disseminate messages about the importance of giraffes and their conservation. The Giraffe Ambassador’s position within their community ensures that the messages being delivered are trusted, accepted and can create sustained change in attitudes and associated behaviours towards giraffe and wildlife in general. Ultimately, it is local people who decide the fate of wildlife within an area or community, and it is only by engaging those people that any conservation action can be successful.

Each Giraffe Ambassador is selected for their passion, commitment and central position within a community. They receive training and are educated about the benefits that giraffes can bring to their environment. For example:

  • Giraffe browsing behaviour keeps the bush low and open which helps local pastoralists by keeping conditions favourable for their livestock.
  • Giraffes act as pollinators and spread plant seeds, which ensures continual and healthy growth of vegetation; good vegetation cover prevents soil erosion and habitat degradation , whilst also ensuring there are plenty of fresh shoots and new vegetation growth for livestock.
  • Giraffes do not interfere with crops and there is no competition with livestock; knowledge of this helps to change attitudes towards giraffes in local areas (and wildlife in general) and reduces human-wildlife conflict.
  • Giraffes bring great economic value to an area through wildlife tourism.

 

 
Each Giraffe Ambassador is also trained to collect basic data about the giraffe populations in their area, including information about population size, distribution, habitats used and threats specific to that area. This generates a large volume of local, high quality and specialised knowledge about how giraffes are faring in each area of Kenya, which provides vital information to inform us of giraffe population health and identify areas and issues for conservation focus.

The Giraffe Ambassadors Network acts as a powerful system of disseminating positive messages to the very core of community groups, whilst educating and empowering local people to become guardians of their own wildlife and understand the economic and environmental benefits giraffes bring to their area. It will provide a wealth of data and will ultimately lead to the more effective and reactive conservation of giraffe populations and the ecosystems in which they live.

It also acts as an excellent method by which local people are engaged with wildlife conservation, receive education and training, and are empowered to take ownership of the future of their country’s wildlife.

This project is currently being established in Kenya, and if successful, will be expanded across East Africa. 

 

Meet our Giraffe Ambassadors
 Duncan Ouko  Tonny Kipkirui

Natumaini kwamba twiga anaishi muda mrefu sana katika pori!

I am a Kenyan. I am passionate about wildlife and conservation. It is my life and I will work hard to protect its future in my country. I have worked in the conservation field since 2001 working in Wildlife Protection and Security with the Kenya Wildlife Service.

I am based in Amboseli National Park and I am proud to be a Giraffe Ambassador for this area. I hope to educate local people and show them the wonderful benefits that giraffes can bring to our area, while encouraging people to protect the giraffes that roam here.

I am a Conservation Manager working with the Rothschild’s giraffe. I have also worked with the Kenya Wildlife Service and in research. I am always motivated by challenges the natural resources face especially wildlife and this makes me active in this field to ensure conservation of dwindling biodiversity.

Whilst scientific research has great scope and power in managing environment and conserving world’s natural resources and biodiversity, I believe that educating, inspiring and raising public awareness of the threats facing wildlife and their ecosystems is a step to reversing the declining trends echoed throughout the natural world. When not immersed in work, I enjoy life in the bush, and love to meet new people.

 
FacebookTwitterDiggStumbleuponGoogle BookmarksLinkedin