Giraffes moved by barge in Kenya

Feb. 13, 2011 at 3:58 PM
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LAKE BARINGO, Kenya, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- Eight giraffes were taken back to their native area in Kenya by barge, organizers of the move said.

The organizers said the trip may have been the first attempt ever to carry giraffes over water in Kenya, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The Baringo giraffes, moved in two groups for their 90-minute journey to Ruko Community Wildlife Conservancy in the Lake Baringo area, were loaded onto the barges at Soysambu Conservancy in the Great Rift Valley, the Times reported.

The giraffes were released into a holding pen, where they will spend a week getting acclimated to their new environment, the Times said.

The giraffes had been captured and were held for weeks in a pen to ascertain they were calm enough for the relocation. Northern Rangelands Trust officials, who assisted in arranging the trip, said giraffes are among the hardest animals to move.

Last year, a herd of 30 impala were successfully relocated to the same area.

The trust and the Safari and Conservation Co. supported and carried out the project, which took four years to plan, the Times reported.

The company owns Samatian Island Lodge, a luxury camp on a private island in Lake Baringo, and the trust implements community-driven conservation efforts in Kenya, the newspaper said.

The Baringo giraffe sub-species has not lived in its native area for more than 70 years, but the newspaper did not say why the animals had been away from their native habitat for so long.

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