The giraffe population is down 30% in Kenya

By Kelli Bender
Updated January 28, 2016 10:16 PM
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Each year Kristin Davis travels to Kenya as a patron of the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust to help protect the country’s animals.

Between each of these trips, Kenya always changes a little. Unfortunately, not all of these changes are positive.

“When I took my first trip to Kenya and Tanzania in 2001, there were giraffes everywhere. They were in all of the national parks and sometimes wandering around outside of the parks as well,” Davis, 50, said in a statement. “It never occurred to me that in a few years I would visit Kenya and ask,’Where did all of the giraffes go?’”

The answer: Human-wildlife conflict.

“The DSWT is known for raising the elephants that have become orphans, usually as a result of illegal poaching for ivory, but also because of ‘human-wildlife conflict,’” the former Sex and the City star said. “This term ‘human-wildlife conflict’ turns out to be the reason that giraffes are not strutting across the landscape.”

Since the actress’s first visit to Kenya, 30% of the giraffe population in the country has been lost, including 80% of the reticulated giraffe subspecies. Only 5,000 reticulated giraffes are left in Kenya today.

To help raise awareness about this devastating issue, and hopefully put an end to it, DSWT is working with the Kenyan Wildlife Service to save these beautiful creatures. This new initiative led Davis to Kiko, a baby giraffe orphaned by habitat loss and hunting. After being found, Kiko was flown to a DSWT nursery in Narobi in a special cradle to fit his neck. At his new home, where he is being raised before returning to the wild, Kiko has befriended baby elephants and ostriches, along with Davis.

Robert Carr-Hartley

“With patience and time, Kiko allowed me to pet his neck and feed him some greens,” Davis said of their meeting. “At one point he playfully leaped in the air and pranced around, delightfully showing off his gangly gait.”

The meeting was a reaffirmation to Davis of humanity’s responsibility to watch over animals and make sure they are protected.

Robert Carr-Hartley

“I feel it is my duty to those animals, and to the caring people around the world who do want to help, to tell their stories so that everyone who cares has the knowledge they need to help. That is the only way to change things, really – for us to all speak up together,” she continued.

If you are interested in helping Davis and the David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust care for Kiko and other orphaned animals, donate to the trust here.