I arrived in Windhoek, Namibia late on September 15. Windhoek is the capital of Namibia. Today, I met Emma Hart from the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the rest of our team. After packing our equipment we set off for our 10 day trip into the field. From Windhoek it is a 2 day drive northward to reach the study site. On the way we spotted lots of amazing animals including our first giraffe!
We arrived at the study site, setup camp and met Dr. Julian Fennesy (Co-Founder and President of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation). The Giraffe Conservation Foundation is a leader in giraffe conservation and research. One of the major goals of this trip was to fit seven giraffe throughout the study area with solar powered GPS satellite tracking units. Over the next few days we immobilized seven giraffe and got all of the transmitters mounted. In the short time it took to get the GPS units fitted we also collected other important data such as body measurements, tail hair, and DNA samples.
Last night my tent mate and I where awoken in the middle of the night to the sound of branches breaking in the tree above our tent. This was followed by the sound of chewing and footsteps all around our tent. Elephants! In the morning we discovered that elephants had visited our camp and had stopped for a midnight snack from the tree above our tent. In this photo you can see an elephant’s footprint about a foot from the door flap of my tent. This was the start of a day full of elephants!
The second half of this trip was spent collected data on the rest of the giraffe in the study area. During this trip we identified 145 different giraffe. We collected data on the type of trees they were feeding on, herd size, and GPS coordinates of their location. The data collected on the trip will help to answer many questions about the giraffe’s natural behavior. With this information, we will be able to make more informed and productive conservation and management decisions to help stop the giraffe’s declining population and secure the future of these amazing animals. Thanks to Como Friends for funding my trip! – Zookeeper Adam
More information on the Giraffe Conservation Foundation can be found at: https://giraffeconservation.org/.