Giraffe Skin Disease (GSD) is a skin disorder that causes crusty lesions on the legs of Maasai giraffes. GSD was first recorded 12 years ago in Ruaha National Park in central Tanzania. Since then, the disease has spread to parts of northern Tanzania, including our study area. Affected skin appears itchy, making the giraffe frequently scratch by rubbing against branches of smaller bushes. Some affected giraffe are reluctant to use their legs; they stand at one place for long periods and show signs of lameness, possibly making them more vulnerable to predation or poaching.
Very little is known about how many giraffes have this disease, and how it affects their survival. Wild Nature Institute scientists are estimating prevalence (% affected) in national parks and conservation areas throughout northern Tanzania, and incidence (rate of spread among individuals) and mortality (difference in survival between affected and non-affected giraffe) in the Tarangire-Manyara Ecosystem. We thank our supporters for helping us to study this emerging disease. We will share the knowledge gained from our research with local land managers, wildlife authorities, and community leaders so we can help develop and implement effective disease-mitigation strategies and prioritize the spending of scarce wildlife conservation dollars towards where they are needed most.
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