Niger’s Giraffes Came Back From Extinction. Now They’re Poaching People’s Food

In the last three decades, 40 percent of the world’s giraffe population has died. But Niger, the third poorest country in the world, has remarkably reversed the trend — giving a second chance to Africa’s most threatened giraffe subspecies.

The West African giraffe once inhabited an area from the coast in Senegal to Lake Chad, deep in North Africa’s interior. But by 1996, drought, poaching, and habitat loss from growing human and livestock populations brought the population crashing down to near 50; the last giraffes were in southern Niger.

International NGO’s pressed Niger to save the giraffe — which adopted a conservation strategy, put in strict laws to preserve habitat, and placed big penalties for poaching. The new rules, in addition to the fact that no natural predators live near the current reserve, have helped the population grow by a factor of 12 — to more than 600 giraffes today.

But successful conservation has come with a new set of challenges.

Nearby the Kouré Giraffe Zone, local subsistence farmers are angry that giraffes are wreaking havoc on their farms. The reserve simply isn’t large enough to contain, or feed, the fast-growing population.

So ecotourism guides like Adamou Djogo, who help manage the reserve, also set up town halls for villagers once a month. He hears out their concerns, and in turn, hopes to help them understand why the giraffes are important for Niger’s development in the long run.

“People will are quick to say, the giraffes are doing this or that. Right away they think about the problems, but they don’t think about the advantages.” Djogo told VICE News. “We know that the giraffe is our national heritage — and even a global one.”

Last December, the Giraffe Conservation Foundation, along with Niger’s government — relocated eight giraffes to the larger Gadabedji reserve. They hope to establish a new population so that these giraffes can find a new home to thrive.

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Niger says 75 ‘Boko Haram terrorists’ killed | AFP

Niger says around 75 Boko Haram combatants have been killed in the southeast and in neighbouring Nigeria by a regional anti-jihadist force. IMAGES

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Niger celebrates Touareg culture at Air festival | AFP

Niger’s Touaregs celebrate the Air festival in the northern Agadez region, featuring traditional music, camel races and crafts.

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Africa Weekly 7/2/2020: political turmoil in Malawi and Seychelles’ tourism problem | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly, we head to the perilous border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, where the French army is fighting alongside the G5 Sahel forces in an attempt to eliminate the threat posed by jihadists. From there, we take a contrasting look at the beaches of the Seychelles islands, a byword for luxury holidays. But there’s trouble in paradise, as the ever increasing tourist numbers start to pose a threat to the islands’ fragile ecosystem. We also take a look at the main headlines from across the continent this week.

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A round up of news and features | AFP

This week on Africa Weekly we head to Niger, where climate change is wreaking havoc for the nomadic Fulani Wodabé herders and their access to water.

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In the desert heat, Niger holds first ever marathon | AFP

In an arid desert setting, runners participate in the first ever marathon in Niger’s history, taking place in and around the city of Agadez. The athletes run under the close watch of dozens of soldiers, deployed to prevent any possible attack by jihadists. Organised with the slogan “Running for Peace in the Sahel”, the ‘Grand Marathon du Ténéré’ aims to help put a stop to the isolation of this troubled region.

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PART III – The Fulani in Niger: in pictures I AFP

The Fulani are pastoral herders who migrate with their cattle, following the pendulum swing of the seasons.
But their age-old way of life is under threat. Booming populations have intensified conflicts for land, religious extremism has shattered social bonds and climate change is driving them on an ever more desperate search for pasture.

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Brothers in arms: African and French armies join forces in fight against jihadism in the Sahel | AFP

In the border zone between Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, French and Burkinabe soldiers march in step. Named Bourgou IV, their mission was the first official joint ground operation between the French army and the so-called G5 Sahel force, which pools troops from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. Their goal: assert control over an area where no troops had set foot for over a year. It is in this “three borders” area that 13 French soldiers lost their lives in a helicopter accident on Monday.

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Niger locals battle deadly floods to save homes | AFP

Exceptionally high water levels in the river Niger are causing severe flooding for people who live along its banks in the Niger capital Niamey. Many have fled their homes after seeing attempts to slow the rising water with sand barriers come to nothing.

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African Union member states gather in Niamey to talk free-trade deal | AFP

The African Union gathers in Niamey, capital of Niger, for a summmit which the organisation hopes will pave the way towards a continent-wide free trade agreement. The AU envisions a free trade zone driving economic integration across a single African market of 1.2 billion people, expected to reach 2.5 billion by 2050. IMAGES

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Angela Merkel begins tour of Sahel region in Burkina Faso

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is greeted by Burkina Faso President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré in Ouagadougou. She is at the start of a tour of the Sahel region that will see her pass through Niger and Mali. IMAGES

Cameroon: 187 ex-Boko Haram fighters surrender arms

Some 187 Cameroonian former members of the Nigerian jihadist group Boko Haram voluntarily return to their country from Nigeria. They were taken to the base of the Multinational Joint Task Force, set up by Nigeria, Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

A new migrant crisis is unfolding in Niger

Under a 2015 deal with the EU Niger halts the migrant flow in exchange for aid. Once a thriving city of Agadez faces dramatic economy reduction.

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US announces its armed drones now operate in Niger

The U.S. has confirmed its armed drones have been operating in the west African country of Niger for more than 6 months now.

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Report: Multiple Failures Led to Niger Attack

The Pentagon said Thursday multiple failures are to blame for the Niger ambush that killed four U.S. service members last October, including insufficient training and preparation as well as lack of proper command approval for the mission. (May 10)

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Benin’s Pendjari National Park comes back to life

In the north of Benin, elephants, lions and antelopes roam in peace across the savannah of the Pendjari National Park. The park — on the border with Burkina Faso and Niger — is the biggest in West Africa and it’s spearheading a new drive to boost tourism in Benin. A voiced AFPTV report.

Italy sending almost 500 troops to fight migrant flows in Africa

Italy’s to send almost 500 troops to the border between Niger and Libya, saying it wants to control human trafficking and the smuggling of migrants.

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