Saving Africa’s Giraffe – A Conservation Success Story

To Mark World Giraffe Day on June 21st and in Celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Fota Wildlife Park
Join us in welcoming Julian and Steph Fennessy of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation for
Saving Africa’s Giraffe – A Conservation Success Story

Nubian giraffe in Murchison NP Uganda ©-GCF

When visiting Africa giraffe are just everywhere, right?

In reality, the tallest and one of the most loved animal in the world is undergoing a silent extinction before our eyes. Giraffe are Africa’s forgotten giants, but not all is lost…

Already extinct in at least seven African countries, giraffe numbers have declined significantly throughout their range in the last century. Giraffe have lost almost 90% of their habitat in the last 300 years. To curb these trends, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) is standing tall for these iconic animals and our combined efforts with governments, NGOs, conservationists, zoos, and other stakeholders are bearing fruit and inspiring successful conservation actions throughout the African continent. Giraffe can only be saved through strong partnerships and collaborative actions. So far, GCF supports giraffe conservation efforts in over 100 million acres of giraffe habitat throughout Africa and we have supported the re-introduction of giraffe and augmented populations in over 10 million acres of quality habitat. By providing a science-based approach to our work, GCF has been integral in deciphering the current giraffe taxonomy, implementing the largest GPS satellite tracking programme on the continent, enhancing community conservation, environmental education and much more.

With all this in mind, this presentation will highlight the plight of giraffe, while focusing on the conservation successes of GCF, an organisation at the forefront of giraffe conservation and management in Africa. As a relatively small organisation, GCF has a big impact and our approach can be seen as a new conservation model. It has never been more important to stand tall and stick our necks out to save giraffe before it is too late.


Dr Julian and Stephanie Fennessy

Julian and Steph Fennessy are the Co-Founders and senior management team of the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, based in Windhoek, Namibia.

As Executive Director Steph handles GCF’s day-to-day business, including liaison with conservation partners throughout the world and fundraising. With an MSc in Environmental Engineering, she is a skilled and experienced environmental manager who has successfully worked in diverse working cultures and multi-disciplinary teams within the private, Government and NGO sector on three continents – Africa, Australia and Europe. Steph’s expertise is in project management and ranges from community based natural resource management to technical sustainability solutions. She continues to be hands-on involved in a wide range of giraffe projects throughout Africa and particularly enjoys spending time in the field. Steph is a member of the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group.

As Director of Conservation Julian  coordinates all giraffe conservation efforts as the technical expert. He has over 25 years of experience in species and habitat ecology, conservation and land management throughout the African continent as well as in Australia. His experience in the field of giraffe conservation is something few others can boast, from individual field projects, supervision of students, population and country-wide assessments, to expert advisor on national and regional conservation strategies and action plans. Julian has conducted numerous conservation expeditions across all regions of the Africa continent, and worked with all giraffe species and subspecies. He co-founded the IUCN SSC Giraffe & Okapi Specialist Group and recently retired as Co-Chair after providing inspirational leadership to the group for 12 years. Julian holds a PhD in Biological Science from the University of Sydney, Australia based on his initial work in Namibia – the ecology of the desert-dwelling giraffe in Namibia’s northwest. His diverse skill base provides a solid science and conservation foundation from which GCF can grow.


When: Fri 30th June —Where: Marquee, Fota Wildlife Park — Time: 13.00 —Duration:(30- 40 minutes)