Wild Nature Institute is excited about a new partnership with Como Park Zoo to help us with giraffe science. Jill Erzar, scientist and giraffe-keeper at the zoo, spent two weeks with us in Tanzania, using our giraffe identification photographs to estimate heights of individuals over time. These data provide us with growth rates as well as an index of animals' ages. With this information we can study whether growth rates vary in different parts of our study area, and we can determine at what age juveniles disperse from the herd in which they were born.
We employ a technique called photogrammetry, which means using photographs to measure distances. Here we measure the number of pixels in the giraffe's neck and then use an algorithm to calculate height, and then use height as an index for age. The two photographs below are from the same individual in June 2014 and again September 2015.
With Jill's help we measured giraffe necks from 1,800 photographs!
We also visited our study area in Tarangire National Park where Wild Nature Institute has been monitoring demography and social relationships of more than 3,100 individual giraffes over 8 years. Happily we saw a lot of our 'study animal' as well as many of the other spectacular animals that share the savanna with giraffes.
Thank you so much, Jill, and we look forward to a long and fruitful working relationship.
On Friday Wild Nature Institute's education coordinator James shared our children's book Juma the Giraffe and accompanying giraffe-themed learning activities with 15 children from 2care2share orphanage in Arusha, Tanzania. The following day the children visited Tarangire National Park and got to see beautiful giraffes in person!
Thank you to Mette and James for coordinating the education day. And thank you to Wild Nature Institute's donors for providing the funding that enables us to share our giraffe education program with these children. It is wonderful to see their happy faces and know we are planting the seeds of lifelong appreciation for giraffes.
Part of Giraffe Fun Day was playing sports in celebration of Tanzania's national animal. We supplied giraffe t-shirts and soccer balls for the children, and they had fun running around after an intensive morning learning about giraffes.
Science News and Updates From the Field from Wild Nature Institute.
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