News

8 December 2016:

The giraffe has been announced as ‘Vulnerable’ in the latest update of the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, released today at the UN biodiversity conference in Cancun, Mexico. The global giraffe population has plummeted by up to 40% over the last 30 years, driven by habitat loss, civil unrest and illegal hunting, with less than 100,000 now remaining.  The giraffe Red List assessment process has been a major collaborative effort, compiling data on all nine subspecies from a large number of IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group members working across the range.  Read the IUCN press release here and the Red List assessment here, and join us in spreading the word and supporting efforts to conserve the most threatened populations of giraffe.

18 October 2016:

Join us in celebrating the inaugural World Okapi Day, spearheaded by the Okapi Conservation Project and zoos around the world to raise awareness of this amazing animal as well as support for okapi conservation efforts in the wild!  Learn more here.

5 September 2016:

At the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Hawaii today, the Director General of ICCN, Dr Cosma Wilungula Balongelwa, joined Dr Noëlle Kümpel from the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group to hold an event on ‘Conserving the elusive forest giraffe’.  This highlighted the decline of okapi in the wild and international, collaborative efforts to counter this, such as the new Lomami National Park, World Okapi Day and the ten-year IUCN/ICCN Okapi Conservation Strategy.  Find out more here.

22 August 2016:

Ahead of the IUCN World Conservation Congress to be held in Hawaii, 1-10 September 2016, IUCN Members have voted comprehensively to endorse Motion 008 on ‘Giraffids: reversing the decline of Africa’s iconic megafauna’.  This was led and supported by a number of GOSG members and co-sponsored by organisations including ICCN, representing DRC, the only country in the world where both giraffe and okapi are found.  Join us in helping to raise awareness and support conservation efforts to tackle the plight of both giraffe and okapi in the wild. Read the motion here.

12 July 2016:

On 7 July the DRC government formally decreed the 9000 square kilometre Lomami National Park, granting protection to a remote, relatively unscathed area home to an abundance of wildlife, much of it rare and endemic, including okapi.  This is the first Congolese protected area to be set up in a participatory manner, involving all levels of the community and administration, from village to province to national entity, thanks to the coordination of the TL2 project and the strong support of ICCN.  Learn more here.

23 June 2016:

If you are in the UK, tune in at 8pm tonight to watch a truly inspiring BBC Natural World documentary, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, on ‘Giraffes: Africa’s Gentle Giants’ programme, following IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group co-chair Julian Fennessy and his family on several giraffe field conservation projects around Africa, including pioneering efforts to translocate around 20 Rothschild’s giraffes by boat across the Nile river in Uganda: Watch the trailer and full film here.

21 June 2016:

Join us in supporting World Giraffe Day, an exciting annual event initiated by co-hosts of the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, to celebrate the longest-necked animal on the longest day or night (depending on which hemisphere you live!) of the year – 21 June – every year!  Find out more here.

5 February 2016:

We are excited to announce that the IUCN/ICCN Okapi Conservation Strategy and Status Review, produced with the support of the IUCN SSC Giraffid and Okapi Specialist Group and a huge number of partners and donors, has now been officially published and printed in English and French!  This is the first-ever coordinated global strategy focused on this unique and elusive species, highlighting that while we still have much to learn in terms of its ecology and conservation status, it is severely threatened by habitat loss, poaching, armed conflict and increasingly the destruction of its forests by extractives activities.  Among other things, the strategy calls for urgent government and international commitment to support the integrity of key Congolese protected areas from armed militia and illegal extractives activities.  You can download the strategy here.

21 August 2015:

It is now time for ‘Sticking our Necks out for Giraffe Conservation in Africa’ – Giraffe Indaba III will be held in South Africa at the Southern African Wildlife College (Hoedspruit) between 23 – 28 August 2015 : click here for more information!

18 August 2015:

The Mercury (Durban, South Africa) has published two articles that highlight alarming declines in giraffe and okapi numbers, which raise major concerns for the conservation of these two emblematic species in Africa. You can read them here!

16 June 2015

21 June has been designated the day on which the wildlife aficionados of this planet celebrate the giraffe, one of Africa’s most beautiful denizens and iconic symbols. According to Billy Dodson, GCF patron and nature photographer, this acknowledgment is long overdue. More information here!

2 June 2015:

The last issue of our newsletter Giraffid is now available. You can download it here.

24 April 2015:

A special issue of the African Journal of Ecology focusing on giraffids and guest edited by IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group member Dr Fred Bercovitch includes a whole host of original research papers on giraffe and okapi by GOSG members and other giraffid experts, as well as a policy piece where Dr Noelle Kumpel and Dr Julian Fennessy – co-chairs of the Group – draw attention to the ‘silent extinction’ of the two iconic African cousins. You can download the policy paper and other papers free for a month, so be quick!

17 March 2015

The new GCF annual report 2013/14 is now available online. You can download it here!

20 January 2015:

A new study published in Journal of Zoology and led by Dave Stanton of Cardiff University and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology investigates the social structure, mating system and dispersal of okapi through a non-invasive genetic approach. Read the abstract

11 November 2014:

A paper published in Oryx by Dave Stanton and his colleagues confirms the presence of okapi in the south-west of Congo River, redefining the distribution of this elusive species. Read the abstract

9 July 2014:

Our pioneering genetic study, led by Dave Stanton of Cardiff University and ZSL’s Institute of Zoology, is published in PLoS One, showing the okapi’s ancient evolutionary origins and unexpected resilience. Find out more

28 May 2014:

PhD student Dave Stanton passes the viva for his PhD study of okapi genetics as part of ZSL’s range-wide okapi conservation project – congratulations, Dave!

27 November 2013:

A public evening of talks on okapi genetics and conservation takes place, with speakers including Dr Noelle Kumpel, Dave Stanton and the Congolese Director of Protected Areas, Director Jean-Joseph Mapilanga of ICCN.  Read a write-up of the eventRead the abstracts and agenda

26 November 2013:

Following a reassessment of the species’ conservation status at the May multistakeholder workshop, the okapi is announced by IUCN as ‘Endangered’ on its Red List of Threatened Species, triggering substantial media interest.  Read more on the ZSL website, in the Independent, and on the IUCN website.

22-25 May 2013:

Following months of planning and preparation, ZSL and ICCN hosts a multi-stakeholder okapi workshop in Kisangani, DRC, to develop the first-ever species-wide conservation strategy for the okapi. The workshop highlights that the okapi is faring worse than scientists previously thought, threatened throughout its range by the presence of dangerous rebels, elephant poachers and illegal miners, and participants agree on actions needed to secure its persistence in the wild. Read the ZSL blog

27 March 2013:

The IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group is formally established, with Dr Noelle Kumpel of ZSL co-chair for okapi. Read the announcement on the ZSL website here.