Giraffe Stranded on Flooded Island with Little Food Floated to Safety on Custom Barge
Awala the giraffe is back on safe ground.
According to a release from Save Giraffes Now, the U.S. nonprofit's partners in Kenya floated Awala, an endangered Rothschild's giraffe, from a flooded island in Kenya to the Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy's newly created giraffe sanctuary on a custom barge.
Awala's rescue is part of a larger, complex effort to save all of the giraffes caught on a flooded Kenyan island with very little food. At the sanctuary, Awala will reunite with Asiwa, Easter, and Lbarnoti, the three other giraffes rescued from the island so far.
Five giraffes remain on the island — Nkarikoni, her baby Noelle, Nasieku, Nalangu, and young Susan — and need to be moved soon to protect them from predators, a lack of food, and other dangers.
"We're making great progress, but we won't rest until the other five are safe at Ruko Conservancy, as well," David O'Connor, the president of Save Giraffes Now, said in a statement. "There has been a recent devastating decline of the giraffe population, but very few people are even aware they are endangered, so each one matters greatly."
Rescuers are especially focused on transferring Noelle since the calf, born in December, is more susceptible to the island's dangers.
"We're thrilled Noelle is healthy and developing nicely – she is now 7 feet tall! – but we must continue to keep her safe until she is big enough to move, which is thankfully fast approaching," Susan Myers, the founder and CEO of Save Giraffes Now, said. "We remain hopeful to finish these rescues as quickly as possible."
In February 2020, when the flooding on the island became a critical issue, Save Giraffes Now, Kenya Wildlife Service, the Northern Rangelands Trust, and the Ruko Community all banned together to find a way to help the stranded giraffes.
Save Giraffes Now, one of the world's largest nonprofits focused solely on giraffe conservation, has contributed two-thirds of the rescue project's costs to date.
To learn more about this rescue and Save Giraffes Now's other conservation work, visit the nonprofit's website.