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  1. ITV Report

Drone technology: tracking the world's rarest giraffe

Experts from Bristol's Zoological Society are using drones to track some of the rarest giraffes in the world - as part of new efforts to save one of the few remaining populations.

The Central African or Kordofan giraffe is a subspecies found only in northern Cameroon, southern Chad, and the Central African Republic.

Their numbers are described as critically low.

There are only a few populations of Central African giraffes left in the wild. Credit: Bristol Zoological Society

Researchers will use drone technology to map the movements of Central African giraffes in Cameroon.

They want to find out whether there is a sustainable population of this highly threatened giraffe subspecies that they can work to conserve and help save from extinction.

At the moment there is no active conservation project aimed solely at this kind of giraffe.

140,000
wild giraffes in 2006
80,000
giraffes in the wild today (approximate figure)
<2,000
estimated number of Kordofan giraffe

The survey will focus on the Bénoué National Park in Cameroon – a UNESCO designated biosphere reserve.

Kordofan giraffe are in very serious trouble in the wild. With threats from habitat loss - due to huge herds of cattle present in the area - and poaching for bushmeat, these iconic animals are disappearing quickly and quietly towards extinction.

If nothing is done to protect them, there is a real chance they will be lost forever.

– Dr Grainne McCabe, Bristol Zoological Society’s head of conservation science

Very little is currently known about the range and population of giraffe in Cameroon - the drone surveys should prove vital in planning a way to help population numbers recover.