A giraffe in a Kenyan national park has given birth to twins in what officials have called an ‘extremely rare occurrence.’
Sharing a picture of the new family on Twitter, Cabinet Secretary for Tourism Najib Balala announced the birth on Tuesday.
‘We welcome the new borns with love,’ he added in a tweet shared by the country’s Wildlife Service.
The Masai giraffes were born at the Nairobi National Park, a 117-square kilometer estate close to Kenya’s capital city.
But in spite of good news like this, the species is still in trouble, having suffered long-term decline over many decades.
The number of Masai giraffes in Kenya fell from around 32,000 to 12,000 between 1977 and 2015, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature: a drop of 63%.
The organisation says expanding human populations, as well as changes in the way land is used, have been documented in many of the areas the giraffe normally live.
But the picture isn’t all bleak. More recent surveys show the species has been growing since 2015.
Giraffe numbers have also risen overall since 2015, when less than 100,000 were recorded in the wild.
A 2021 survey found 117,000 giraffe in the wild: approximately 20% more than were recorded in 2015.
The most populous of the four giraffe species — the southern giraffe — appears to have remained relatively stable at about 48,000. Its found across Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and further afield.
The same survey also found 45,000 Masai giraffe overall: an apparent increase of 44% since 2015. Masai giraffe are found in Tanzania and southern Kenya.
Much of this apparent growth is likely the result of better surveying techniques, rather than a major increase in numbers. But significant conservation efforts are also thought to have helped the animals’ population grow.
Giraffes are still struggling to survive and thrive, however, with some areas still seeing major falls in numbers.
Conservationists say climate change, habitat degradation and poaching remain serious threats to the animals.
This article by Katherine Hignett was first published by Metro on 19 July 2022. Lead Image: Giraffe roaming a national park in Kenya. (Credits: Getty).
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