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The Return of Angola’s Giraffes is One Element in a Wider Plan to Revive its National Parks

After an epic 36-hour journey, the first native giraffes to be returned to an Angolan national park arrived from Namibia this week, in what many hope to be the first of multiple translocations to return the animals to their historical homeland. The new arrivals are the first Angolan giraffes (Giraffa giraffa angolensis) to be brought back to the country’s national parks in an effort to restore Angola’s wildlife, which was decimated during decades of conflict. The giraffes were thought to have been extinct since the 1990s. Information on what happened to giraffes in Angola is limited. But it is believed Angolan giraffes may have disappeared from Iona as early as the 1940s, the cause unknown. Populations across Angola declined significantly in the 1970s, with no Angolan giraffes left in the country by the 1990s, most likely due to the civil war, until private landowners started bringing them back to their farms and reserves. The translocation was a team effort by African Parks, an NGO that oversees the management of national parks in 12 countries, including Iona, the government of Angola and Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), which, along with the Wyss Foundation, funded the move.