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Giraffe now a SAFE species


Operation Twiga III moved 14 giraffe more than 250 miles across Uganda to a new home in Kipedo Valley National Park. Photo by Michael Butler Brown.

As populations continue to decline in the wild, the Association of Zoos & Aquariums has taken a big step forward in helping secure a future for giraffe. In January 2018, AZA announced the addition of giraffe as a SAFE (Saving Animals From Extinction) species; Cleveland Metroparks Zoo and Cheyenne Mountain Zoo are the leaders of the Giraffe SAFE program, meaning staff in Cleveland are helping chart a course that will lead to successful field conservation programs around the world.


Cleveland Metroparks Zoo Animal Keeper Clair Winkler in Uganda working with Operation Twiga.

In addition to technical and staffing support for projects like Operation Twiga, zoos have contributed $1,500,000 to giraffe conservation efforts since 2014. Locally, the Cleveland Zoo Society provides $450,000 in conservation funding annually to the Zoo for its Future for Widlife programs, including giraffe. Generous Zoo Society individual donors, as well as foundations, have helped make work like Operation Twiga possible. Click here to read more about Operation Twiga III.

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