Two of the eight giraffes stranded on an island in Lake Baringo have been rescued.
Dramatic images of the rescue at Longicharo Island by conservationists, Kenya Wildlife Service, and volunteers from the local community emerged today.
“Asiwa”, one of the giraffes, was the first to be rescued. He was loaded into a barge made of steel and drums, and transported about six kilometres down the river to safety.
Intense rains on several days cut off access to the mainland, leaving the herd of Nubian giraffes stranded. Lake Baringo waters are rising at a rate of six inches a day.
“We couldn’t have asked for a better result, and we’re eager to move the others soon,” David O’Connor, president of US-based non-governmental organisation Save Giraffes Now was quoted by the British newspaper Daily Mail as saying. “With giraffe undergoing a silent extinction, every one we can protect matters.”
The yet-to-be-rescued giraffes are four adult females (Nkarikoni, Nalangu, Awala and Nasieku), and one adult male (Lbarnnoti). Reports indicate that they will be moved early next year.
Mr O’Connor told the BBC that his organization started working in the area three years ago when Lake Baringo waters began reaching dangerous levels.
“What we had hoped to do and we’ve been trying with the community for several weeks is to train the giraffes to go themselves using food as a temptation,” he added.
Besides the Kenya Wildlife Service and Save Giraffes Now, others involved in the rescue are Northern Rangelands Trust and Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy.