Giraffes Left Stranded by Flooding in Kenya Are Dramatically Rescued by a Special Barge

A giraffe on a boat is a strange sight, but because of recent events in Kenya, a rescue mission had no other choice than making a powerful intervention.
Conservationists in Kenya headed to Lake Baringo where severe rains raised water levels dramatically endangering the local species. They found several Nubian giraffes stranded on a tiny island, that once used to be their home and a peninsula, surrounded by crocodiles and short on food.

Kenyan Wildlife Service teamed with US-based Save Giraffes Now and the Northern Rangelands Trust and rescued the giraffes by using a large barge. This was customized so it can safely accommodate one giraffe at a time and the rescue team used empty drums, a steel floor, and fences to build it.

The first giraffe to be rescued was the female Asiwa, who got stranded and separated from the rest of the tower on a separate part of the island. For the mission to be successful and safe for both the team and Asiwa, she had to be sedated and transported with a hood on her head.
Once she was safe on the other side of the lake, the team removed the hood and set her free into her new home.

“When the giraffes were moved to the island it was a peninsula, but then the lake levels rose and it became an island, and the lake continued to rise,” O’Connor says. “For Asiwa, she was cut off from the rest of the giraffes on a low-lying part of the island, she would have been flooded. For the other giraffes on the bigger part of the island, in the dry season they do not have food and have to be supplementary fed.”

Rescuers cheer after the giraffe is successfully moved. Ami Vitale / Save Giraffes Now

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