The IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group proposed a review of the giraffe taxonomy which may result in changes to taxonomy (subspecies may become species).
|• Insurance (reticulated, Rothschild’s and Kordofan giraffe
Even though there is no specific need identified at this time, for the reticulated, Rothschild’s and Kordofan subspecies held within EAZA, there is potential to manage them towards separate insurance populations. The EAZA population for reticulated giraffe is in a good condition and the subspecies is still threatened and decreasing in the wild. The feasibility to fulfil the insurance role for Rothschild’s giraffe depends on if (expected) hybridisation has taken place or not. The genetic research to confirm the hybridisation needs to be completed. To be successful in fulfilling the insurance role for Kordofan giraffe, the founder base needs to be increased and the feasibility for artificial insemination with semen from the wild needs to be determined.
The programme promotes and endorses giraffe conservation projects among all giraffe holders to support through the EEPs conservation subgroup, which reviews projects on an annual basis. This includes in situ projects for all subspecies, including for subspecies EAZA Members do not hold (e.g., West African giraffe and Masai giraffe).
• Conservation Education (outside of range countries)
In situ giraffe conservation efforts have been successful and provide zoos with a good example/ case story of how good and direct conservation actions are having a positive impact on in situ population numbers. The programme will collaborate with the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and the IUCN SSC Giraffe and Okapi Specialist Group to ensure accurate and up-to-date messaging and information within EAZA Members (giraffe ecology, conservation, and management).
Giraffe are a flagship and emblematic species for zoos and the TAG wishes to maintain a healthy population within EAZA. As the programme is working towards developing insurance populations for reticulated, Rothschild’s and potentially Kordofan giraffe, it is expected the EAZA population will consist of these three subspecies in the long-term future.
The programme expects holders to participate in research on (biological) topics that are guided by the advisors of the programme (nutrition and veterinary). In most cases this is collection of information and samples when an animal dies.