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Namibian giraffe relocated to Angola’s Iona National Park bordering Namibia

Namibian giraffe relocated to Angola’s Iona National Park bordering Namibia

The Namibia-based Giraffe Conservation Foundation has just announced that 14 giraffe were translocated successfully to the Iona National Park in the southwestern corner of Angola, adjacent to the Kaokoveld in the Kunene region but separated by the Kunene River.

The translocation is part of an ongoing conservation effort to restore and enrich the park’s biodiversity. “Bringing giraffe back to this vast landscape is a huge success for conservation and giraffe in the wild,” stated the Foundation.

The animals came from a game ranch in central Namibia, making the 1300 km journey on the back of trucks, to help restore the former rich biodiversity of Iona. The park is a semi-arid area similar to the Kaokoveld just south of it.

The translocation was sponsored by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the Wyss Foundation.

Abias Huongo, Secretary of State for the Ministry of Environment, said, “The reintroduction of giraffe to Iona National Park is a remarkable milestone in Angola’s conservation journey. This significant endeavour demonstrates our commitment to preserving our country’s natural heritage. Together, we are building a future where both people and wildlife thrive harmoniously.”

“This collaborative effort of bringing giraffe back to Iona National Park is an extraordinary achievement for giraffe conservation in Angola. By reintroducing giraffe to their historical range, we re-establish their range, ensure their long-term survival and contribute to restoring the ecological balance in the region. We look forward to continuing to work closely with all partners involved for the long-term success of this project”, said Stephanie Fennessy, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.

Before the giraffe were considered for translocation, a feasibility study was conducted by a student from the Namibia University of Science and Technology under supervision of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation. The assessment evaluated various factors, including the source population, habitat suitability, human dimensions, risks during and after the operation, as well as financial feasibility.

Based on the positive results and the commitment of all stakeholders, the translocation was recommended and put into action. In addition, African Parks conducted a survey amongst the communities in and around the border of the park to evaluate local community perceptions.

Pedro Monterroso, Iona Park Manager, said “The reintroduction of giraffe to Iona marks a critical moment in the park’s history. These graceful animals will contribute to the restoration of the park’s biodiversity and serve as a symbol of Angola’s commitment to conservation. We are grateful for the partnership with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, the Government of Angola and the support from the Wyss Foundation in making this translocation possible.”

The ecology of Iona National Park in southwestern Angola is similar to the arid conditions in Namibia’s Kunene region. (Photograph by Casey Crafford.)


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