More giraffes return to Iona National Park

Securing a future for Angolan giraffe
A second group of 13 Angolan giraffes were successfully relocated from Namibia to the Iona National Park in Angola as part of an ongoing conservation initiative to restore and enrich the park's biodiversity.
Last year, Angolan giraffes were successfully returned to their historical home after an absence of more than a century and this second translocation continues this conservation success story.
The release at Iona National Park on 18 May was witnessed by H.E. President João Lourenço of Angola and a high-level ministerial delegation comprising over 16 ministers, the governor of the Namibe province, traditional authorities and other dignitaries.
When Angolan giraffes returned to Iona National Park in Angola last year, this was only the start of a long-standing commitment to species conservation by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, African Parks, and the government of Angola, who had teamed up to bring back the Angolan giraffe after a long absence.
And now another 13 giraffe have made the long journey from central Namibia to Iona National Park in Southwest Angola.
The epic move was sponsored by the Giraffe Conservation Foundation and African Parks.
“The safe arrival of these giraffes to their historic home range is another critical step in restoring Iona National Parks’ ecological equilibrium,” Augusto Archer de Sousa Mangueira, the Governor of the Namibe Province said. “Their successful release holds huge potential to positively influence the local tourism industry. This, in turn, could generate jobs in tourism-related services, increase income for local communities, and raise awareness about the importance of preserving biodiversity.”
After their capture in Namibia, the giraffe travelled over 1 300 km in a journey that lasted over 48 hours before their successful release in Iona National Park. Last year’s translocation was a success with the introduced giraffe adapting well to their new home. To bolster this small population and help with their long-term viability, it was decided to bring in additional giraffes to help further restore the region’s ecological processes.
Giraffes are important landscape gardeners who shape vegetation through browsing and dispersal of seeds due to their selective feeding habits.
"Bringing the Angolan giraffe back to Iona National Park in Angola last year was an amazing achievement and has the makings of a true conservation success story,” said Stephanie Fennessy, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation.
“By reintroducing giraffes to their historical range, we re-establish their range, ensure their long-term survival and contribute to restoring the ecological balance in the region. We are excited to continue our collaboration with African Parks and the Angolan government who are great partners in these conservation efforts. Together, we can make a real difference.”
Whilst giraffe populations in general have declined in the past 35 years due to habitat loss, poaching, and other human-induced factors, recent targeted giraffe conservation efforts have seen positive effects and several populations have started to rebound.
Conserving and protecting giraffes is crucial not only for their survival but also for maintaining the balance and functionality of Africa's ecosystems. Translocations are important and impactful tools for conservation and in particular, this cross-border move is a testament to the commitment of conservation by many players in Africa who work tirelessly for the protection of Africa’s unique biodiversity.