Published on December 14, 2016
The Tulsa Zoo is working with The Wild Nature Institute to support the expansion of a unique giraffe demography study used in identifying and tracking wild giraffes by utilizing their unique spot patterns to understand individual movements and survival. With this special tool, they are monitoring 2,100 individual giraffes in an area of over 4,000 sq. km within a fragmented ecosystem. They are using non-invasive photographic mark-recapture methods, with the goals of first, understanding population dynamics of giraffe in a fragmented landscape in order to successfully conserve the species and its savanna habitat; and second, to raise awareness of population declines and threats to the national animal of Tanzania. This is the largest giraffe demography project and one of the biggest large-mammal demography studies in history.
Field Research and Community Education
The Wild Nature Institute is a very progressive, but grassroots organization who have helped commence land-use planning in part of their study area, and have collected wildlife data in a collaborative effort with several NGOs, wildlife authorities, and village leaders to create comprehensive, connected protected areas among adjacent villages to allow for movement of wildlife and Masai pastoralists. Our partnership will support the expansion of the demographic research and will be used for fieldwork expenses, to conduct statistical analyses, for education outreach activities to provide critical data, and maps to decision-makers for land-use plans.
Giraffe populations throughout Africa are in trouble from habitat loss and overhunting. This conservation work examines the effects of humans, natural predation, and disease on giraffe populations. The Tulsa Zoo is excited to be supporting this organization and its conservation projects.
Find out more about The Wild Nature Institute.