Giraffe being rescued in a raft.

FLOAT! Each rescue trip across Lake Baringo took about an hour.

CARO WITHE, SAMATIAN ISLAND/Save Giraffes Now

Giraffes On A Raft

Wildlife experts came up with a solution to rescue a group of giraffes trapped on an island.

As You Read: What were two challenges of moving the giraffes?

How do you get the world’s tallest animal off an island? That’s the problem wildlife workers in Kenya faced last fall.

Nine giraffes were stuck on an island in a lake in this African country. The giraffes couldn’t swim to shore. The lake was too wide—and it was filled with hungry crocodiles.

Animal experts came up with a plan. They would float the giraffes across the lake on a raft.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this happening,” says David O’Connor of Save Giraffes Now. That’s an organization that helped lead the rescue.

How do you get the world’s tallest animal off an island? That’s the problem experts in Kenya faced last fall.

Nine giraffes were stuck on an island in a lake. The giraffes couldn’t swim to shore. The lake was too wide. And it was filled with hungry crocodiles.

Animal experts made a plan. They would float the giraffes across the lake on a raft.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this happening,” says David O’Connor. He works for a group that helped lead the rescue.

Planning a Rescue

Last December, workers built a barge. This special steel raft could move the giraffes one at a time. It was nicknamed the “Giraft.” The barge had tall sides to keep the giraffes from falling into the water. A boat with a motor pulled it across the lake.

It wasn’t easy to get the giraffes feeling calm on the raft. Workers tried leading them aboard with treats, like mango. But that didn’t work every time. The first two giraffes needed special medicine to help keep them calm.

Last December, workers built a barge. That is a special steel raft. The raft could move the giraffes one at a time. It was nicknamed the Giraft. It had tall sides to keep the giraffes from falling into the water. A boat with a motor pulled it across the lake.

It wasn’t easy to get the giraffes feeling calm. Workers tried leading them onto the raft with treats. But that didn’t work every time. The first two giraffes needed medicine to calm them.

Northern Rangelands Trust

FREEDOM! The giraffes were eager to be back on land after the raft ride.

Rising Waters

How did the giraffes get stranded? Well, the island wasn’t always an island. It was once a peninsula that stretched into Lake Baringo.

In 2011, the endangered giraffes were brought to the peninsula to protect them from poachers. These hunters kill giraffes for their meat and spotted coats. But heavy rains started in late 2019. They caused the lake level to rise. Soon, the giraffes were cut off from the mainland.  

How did the giraffes get stranded? Well, the island wasn’t always an island. It was once a peninsula that stuck out into the lake.

In 2011, endangered giraffes were brought to the peninsula. The idea was to protect them from poachers. These hunters kill giraffes for their meat and spotted coats. But heavy rains started in 2019. They caused the lake level to rise. Soon, the giraffes were cut off from the mainland.  

SaveGiraffesNow.org

SUCCESS! Workers celebrated once the giraffes were safe in their new home.

A New Home

By April, all nine of the giraffes were rescued. They now live on a wildlife reserve on the mainland. But the story isn’t over. 

Only about 3,000 of this type of giraffe are left in the wild. They’re called Rothschild’s giraffes. Like other types of giraffes, their population has dropped in the past 30 years. 

Poaching and habitat loss are big threats. Humans use areas where giraffes once lived for farming and logging. 

More Rothschild’s giraffes will join the rescued animals. Experts hope the groups breed to build up their population. 

“These giraffes are the heart of our homeland,” says Mike Parkei, a ranger at the giraffes’ reserve. “We had to do everything possible to save them.”

By April, all nine of the giraffes were rescued. They now live on a wildlife reserve. But the story isn’t over. 

Only about 3,000 of this type of giraffe are left in the wild. They’re called Rothschild’s giraffes. Their population has dropped in the past 30 years. 

Poaching and habitat loss are big threats. Humans use areas where giraffes once lived for farming and logging. 

More Rothschild’s giraffes will join the rescued animals. Experts hope the groups breed to build up their population. 

“These giraffes are the heart of our homeland,” says Mike Parkei. He is a ranger at the giraffes’ reserve. “We had to do everything possible to save them.”

1. What is the section “Planning a Rescue” mainly about? 

2. Why did the giraffes need to be rescued? 

3. What is the purpose of the map above? 

1. What is the section “Planning a Rescue” mainly about? 

2. Why did the giraffes need to be rescued? 

3. What is the purpose of the map above? 

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