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In pictures: Kenyan conservationists stage daring rescue of endangered Rothschild’s giraffes © Save Giraffes Now

In pictures: The moment Kenyan conservationists rescued a marooned giraffe by boat

Published: 01st February, 2021 at 00:00
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When a group of endangered Rothschild's giraffes got stuck on an island, there was only one thing to do: sail them to safety on a raft.

The Kenya Wildlife Service and the charity Save Giraffes Now have rescued two of eight Rothschild’s giraffes that became trapped on a small island in Kenya’s Lake Baringo, following a bout of flooding caused by heavy rainfall. They plan to save the remaining animals over the next few months.


How do you get a group of marooned giraffes off an island? By girraft of course! No really, the local rangers tempted the Giraffes onto a raft for one built especially for the job. Here’s the vessel in action.

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The raft viewed from above © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now

The giraffes were originally homed on the island in 2011, in order to protect them from poachers. There are thought to be fewer than 2,000 Rothschild’s giraffes left in the wild, making them one of the most endangered giraffe subspecies.

Asiwa, blindfolded, on the raft with seven people © Save Giraffes Now
Asiwa, blindfolded, on the raft © Save Giraffes Now

The animals were sedated and blindfolded to calm them down, before being floated to safety on a raft that was specially constructed by locals. This female, named Asiwa, was the first passenger.

A giraffe being prepared for the trip © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now

Rothschild’s are one of the largest of the nine subspecies of giraffe and can reach heights of nearly six metres and weigh more than 1,000kg.

The team celebrating joyfully © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now

The team celebrates after completing the almost 6km trip to Asiwa’s new home in the 4,400-acre Ruko Giraffe Sanctuary.

Take a look at even more pictures of the daring rescue below:

A giraffe, blindfolded © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now
A blindfolded giraffe leaving forwards © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now
A blindfolded giraffe on the raft, next to a rowing boat with several people © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now
An aerial shot of a giraffe in the raft, accompanied by people in rowing boats © Save Giraffes Now
© Save Giraffes Now


Jason Goodyer
Jason GoodyerCommissioning editor, BBC Science Focus

Jason is the commissioning editor for BBC Science Focus. He holds an MSc in physics and was named Section Editor of the Year by the British Society of Magazine Editors in 2019. He has been reporting on science and technology for more than a decade. During this time, he's walked the tunnels of the Large Hadron Collider, watched Stephen Hawking deliver his Reith Lecture on Black Holes and reported on everything from simulation universes to dancing cockatoos. He looks after the magazine’s and website’s news sections and makes regular appearances on the Science Focus Podcast.


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