Niger Express (4 of 4): The Last Herd

Niger hosts a diverse array of flora and fauna, including more than 130 mammal species. Among these is the endangered West African Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis peralta). Since the early 20th century, poaching and loss of habitat have combined to drastically reduce the numbers of these large, graceful mammals, which once roamed freely across Western Africa. Today, less than 400 remain in the wild.

West African Giraffe in Niger
200mm @ 1/5000, f/4, ISO 400

The Niger government has enacted laws to protect this distinct giraffe subspecies and created several sanctuaries for them in the southwest, which has made the area a budding destination for eco-tourism. The economic benefits of this tourism have encouraged locals to buy in to conservation efforts, and as a result the West African Giraffe has seen a dramatic rebound in herd numbers over the past several decades.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to witness and document these majestic creatures in their natural habitat during a trip to the small village of Kouré, approximately 80 kilometers southeast of Niamey.

Giraffa camelopardalis peralta
400mm @ 1/1250, f/7.1, ISO 400
Capturing photos of the Last Herd
70mm @ 1/5200, f/11, ISO 320

Our field guide climbed to the top of a denuded tree to scout for giraffes across the vast expanse of Dosso Partial Faunal Reserve.

Field Guide Scouting from Tree
250mm @ 1/800, f/8, ISO 200

Calf and Mother
200mm @ 1/320, f/8, ISO 100
West African Giraffes in Kouré
150mm @ 1/320, f/8, ISO 400
Giraffes in the Shade
78mm @ 1/200, f/10, ISO 100
Giraffe Portrait
400mm @ 1/320, f/8, ISO 100
Family of Giraffes
200mm @ 1/250, f/7.1, ISO 100
Long-necked Survivor
400mm @ 1/800, f/8, ISO 200

Check out more high-resolution shots from my trip in my album on Flickr.

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