As part of a long-term conservation project, 13 giraffes have been relocated from Namibia to neighboring Angola. This is the second action of this kind within a year; the animals were previously considered extinct in Angola for more than a century, as the nature conservation organization Giraffe Conservation announced. Ten months ago, the first group of 14 giraffes was successfully settled in Iona National Park.

Augusto Archer de Sousa Mangueira, the governor of Namibe province, where the park is located, described the arrival of the second group of giraffes as “another crucial step towards restoring the ecological balance of Iona National Park.” According to Giraffe Conservation, the giraffes were captured around 1,300 kilometers away in Namibia and transported to Angola for more than 48 hours. All 13 animals were released safely on Saturday.

Conservationists hope that the park’s entire ecosystem will benefit from relocating the giraffes. Among other things, these would help strengthen the vegetation with their selective feeding habits, as they play an important role in the distribution of plant seeds.

Before the resettlement, a feasibility study by the Namibia University of Science and Technology assessed various risk factors. Among other things, the suitability of the living space, risks of relocation and financial feasibility were examined.

Around 117,000 giraffes in the wild

Over the past 35 years, the number of giraffes in Africa has declined by about a third, according to Giraffe Conservation. It is estimated that there are around 117,000 animals left in the wild. In Angola, among other things, a protracted civil war (1975 – 2002) also severely affected nature and contributed to the decline of many wild animal species.

The reintroduction of the giraffes is also expected to attract more vacationers to the country of 36 million people in southern Africa, which is still in the early stages of developing its tourism sector due to the civil war.