Giraffe roaming through a national park in Kenya. (Credit: Getty)
A giraffe in a Kenyan national park has given birth to twins in what officials are calling an “extremely rare event.”
Cabinet Secretary for Tourism, Najib Balala, announced the birth on Tuesday and shared a photo of the new family on Twitter.
“We welcome the newborns with love,” he added in a tweet shared by the country’s Wildlife Service.
The Masai giraffes were born in the Nairobi National Park, a 117 square kilometer estate close to Kenya’s capital.
But despite good news like this, the species is still in trouble after a long decline over many decades.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, the number of Masai giraffes in Kenya dropped from about 32,000 to 12,000 between 1977 and 2015, a 63% decline.
The organization says the expansion of human populations, as well as changes in the way land is used, have been documented in many of the areas where giraffes normally live.
But the picture is not all bleak. More recent studies show that the species has been growing since 2015.
Giraffe numbers have also increased overall since 2015, when less than 100,000 have been recorded in the wild.
A survey from 2021 found 117,000 giraffes in the wild: about 20% more than in 2015.
The most populous of the four species of giraffe – the southern giraffe – appears to have remained relatively stable at about 48,000. It is found in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa and beyond.
The same study found a total of 45,000 Masai giraffes, a clear 44% increase since 2015. Masai giraffes are found in Tanzania and southern Kenya.
Much of this apparent growth is likely the result of better surveying techniques, rather than a large increase in numbers. But significant conservation efforts are also thought to have contributed to the growth of the animal population.
However, giraffes are still struggling to survive and thrive, but in some areas they are still seeing large declines in numbers.
Conservationists say climate change, habitat degradation and poaching remain serious threats to the animals.
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