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Giraffes fitted with GPS technology

2021-09-01  Paheja Siririka

Giraffes fitted with GPS technology

Paheja Siririka

Namibia has been known for its unspoiled natural beauty and fascinating wildlife, which led to the inclusion of protection of the environment and nature conservation in its constitution. Being a world leader in conservation, Namibia has been using technology for some time to help conservationists keep track of wildlife and understand the movement of animals.   

Institutions like the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), The University of Namibia (Unam) as well as the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) have now come up with ways to keep Namibia’s giraffes safe by fitting new satellite Global Positioning System (GPS) telemetry in Etosha National Park and Ehirovipuka Communal Conservancy in four

“Namibia is one of the few places where giraffes are adequately protected and their numbers are growing. Therefore, understanding their movements, what they eat and how they react to human encroachment can be used for their global protection,” said NUST’s Morgan Hauptfleisch.

Hauptfleisch, who is the head of NUST’s Biodiversity Research Centre (BRC) associate professor, said in July, NUST and GCF tested a new device that can be attached to the tail of the giraffe. 

“This could replace the previous technology, which is fitted to the horn of the animal,” explained Hauptfleisch. He added that due to their unique physical structure, it is not a simple task to fit GPS monitors on giraffes. The exercise was done under the auspices of the Orycs project, a Namibian-German research project, in collaboration with Potsdam University in Germany.

“The device provides information on the feeding requirements and preferences of animals and identifies obstacles to migration and possible sites of human-wildlife conflict. After two weeks of observation, I am pleased to note that tail trackers are performing well,” commented Jackson Hamutenya, a researcher at GCF. 

GCF is the only organisation in the world that concentrates solely on the conservation and management of giraffes in the wild throughout Africa. 

The organisation implements and supports giraffe conservation efforts in 16 African countries. As an international science-based conservation organisation, GCF provides innovative approaches to saving giraffes. GCF is dedicated to a sustainable future for all giraffe populations in the wild.

Apart from the well-known South African giraffe, which is found all over Southern Africa, the Angolan giraffe subspecies, Giraffa Camelopardalis angolensis, also known as the Namibian giraffe, is found in northern Namibia. 



2021-09-01  Paheja Siririka

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