Namibia starts tracking giraffe movements with tail-mounted devices

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Giraffes in Namibia’s largest national park, Etosha, and the Ehirovipuka Communal Conservancy have been fitted with satellite GPS telemetry, in a move aimed at protecting the species’ growing numbers.

WINDHOEK, Aug. 28 (Xinhua) — Giraffes in Namibia’s largest national park, Etosha, and the Ehirovipuka Communal Conservancy were recently fitted with satellite GPS telemetry, in a move aimed at protecting the species’ growing numbers.a giraffe standing on top of a dirt field© Provided by N.C.N. Limited

“Understanding their movements, what they eat, and how they react to human encroachment can be used for their global protection,” Morgan Hauptfleisch, head and associate professor of Biodiversity Research Center in Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST), said on Friday.

He said that due to giraffes’ unique physical structure, it is not a simple task to fit GPS monitors on them.

“The Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) was the first to use GPS satellite units and have been evolving them for the last 20 years,” Hauptfleisch said.

He said NUST and GCF tested a new device that can be attached to the tail of the giraffe, and this could replace the previous technology, which fits devices to the horn of the animal.

In the past, research showed that horn-mounted GPS devices got damaged when giraffes fight, Hauptfleisch said, adding that in general, fitting devices on giraffes’ horns takes longer.

“The tail units take a minute, at most, to fit, and since this species does not respond well to anesthetics, we need to get the animal back on its feet as quickly as possible,” he said.  AdChoices

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