CONSERVATION
Learn More about giraffes
​​Helping Save The Giraffes 
Mission:  "To guarantee that giraffes are protected and preserved in their natural habitat."​​​

Vision:  "To support conservation research and education programs that strive to ensure the survival of giraffes and their ecosystems for future generations.”

 Last of the longnecks
Last of the Longnecks is a documentary highlighting the plight of giraffes in decline and the implications in our rapidly changing world. The film seeks to celebrate what makes these majestic animals so unique, shed light on their struggle, and further explore what hope can be found in the tangled relationship between humanity and nature. As the tallest animal on the planet, the giraffe is one of the most iconic representatives of our beautifully diverse planet. It seems fitting then, that in uncovering their quiet demise, we discover humanity's greatest challenge. The dedicated contingent of giraffe researchers and scientists across the globe labor restlessly, knowing that the diligent study of these animals may unlock solutions for their coexistence with humankind.

- Written by Ashley Scott Davison (Director/Producer)

Note:  Last Of The Longnecks was aired as Walking With Giraffes on ​Nat Geo Wild.      https://www.natgeotv.com/int/walking-with-giraffes/about  

A Love Affair with Long Necks ​​
Anne Dagg releases new book, ​​ Smitten By Giraffe

Famed zoologist, Anne Dagg, marked her experience with Buddy on the inaugural World Giraffe Day in June 2013 as the most intimate experience she has had with the species that she has devoted over 70 years of her life. It was an emotional interaction and an interaction that brought tears to her eyes. Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch was honored to host Dagg as part of their distinguished lecture series, providing an opportunity for her to meet and interact with not only Buddy, but also caregivers of giraffes from across the State of Texas. A photo of Dagg and Buddy graces the cover of her new book,  Smitten By Giraffe, a memoir of her life as a citizen scientist.  Her book can be found at  Amazon.com.  (See information in section below before you purchase.)
She blazed a trail to Africa as a zoologist in her 20s to pursue her life’s love: giraffes. She was the first person in the world to extensively study giraffes in their natural habitat. As a zoologist, professor and author, she has been an advocate for sustaining the habitat of these gentle giants for over 50 years. With wild giraffe populations being in such dire peril, her legacy is an inspiration.

Since the birth of the twin giraffes, NBWR has hosted famed Canadian biologist, Anne Dagg, and Dr. Francois Deacon as part of their distinguished lecture series, a program designed for animal keepers, biologists and zoologists interested in sharing and learning more about giraffes in the wild. “Elephants are considered an endangered species, and yet giraffes, which are far fewer in number, are not,” says Dagg. “We must work together to prevent the extermination of giraffe in the wild.”
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 Global Authority Classifies Giraffe as Vulnerable Species ​
IUCN Classification Brings Awareness to Wild Giraffe Plight to Prevent Extinction

The International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of threatened species moved giraffes from least concern to vulnerable at their December 2016 meeting in Cancun, Mexico, amid scientists’ and activists’ cries that there has been a 40-percent decline in the specifies since 1985. “For years, we have been talking with scientists about how wild giraffe populations were shrinking. In May, we celebrated Texas Giraffe Day to raise awareness of the wild giraffe plight; to do our part in making sure that everyone knew what was happening with these amazing creatures,” said Tiffany Soecthing, animal specialist at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch. “The new IUCN classification is a gigantic step in recognizing the giraffe’s plight so things can begin to change, and we can preserve these gentle giants for future generations.” The vulnerable classification listed growing human population having a negative impact on many giraffe subpopulations, as well as illegal hunting, habitat loss, and changes through expanding agriculture and mining, human-wildlife conflict, and civil unrest. A resolution adopted at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in September 2016 called for action to reverse the decline of the giraffe. “When we raise our voices and work together, great things can happen,” said Soechting. “I am grateful for our giraffe ambassadors, our media friends, our partners who have helped spread the word.”
Twins' Birth Inspires Journey ​​​​​
The birth of the twin giraffes at the Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (NBWR) in May 2013 generated international news and invigorated and connected those biologists and animal caretakers with a vested interest in reversing the alarming decline of giraffe in the wild. Texas filmmaker, Ashley Davison, videoed the giraffe twins’ first week of life. Inspired by their rareness, he connected with the Giraffe Conservation Organization and researchers working with giraffe to learn more. What he learned was alarming, and since 2013, he has been producing a documentary called “Last of the Longnecks” to provide a glimpse on the reasons why giraffes are dying.

After almost four years of researching, planning, filming, and editing, the documentary Last of the Longnecks was invited to Washington D.C.’s Carnegie Institution of Science, where it made its premiere at the Washington D.C. Environmental Film Festival (DCEFF).

When the world’s ninth recorded set of living giraffe twins were born at NBWR, Ashley Davison was asked to go out and film their first moments of life. That was the footage that was seen in news stories all around the world, including Good Morning America, CNN, and FOX News. The amazing interest brought about research that led to the alarming news of the true devastating plight of wild giraffes in Africa, despite the global classification by the renowned IUCN as ‘least concern.’

The DCEFF hosted a post-presentation panel with Director Ashley Davison, Producer Catherine Land, and NBWR Animal Specialist Tiffany Soechting. The festival also brought Dr. Francois Deacon to the U.S. for the second time in his life and invited him to the stage to join the panel. During his first trip to the U.S. in 2015, he spoke at NBWR to a group of giraffe caretakers. Overall, the film was well-received by a crowded theater, and attendees brought forth very insightful questions to the panel.

In 2015, one of the twins, Wasswa, abruptly fell ill and was lost. The loss of her life was heartbreaking, but it gave a stronger focus to the journey begun by her birth.
 

 Giraffe Populations Are Shrinking​​​​​
With only five researchers dedicated to understanding the giraffe plight and over 50 researchers studying elephants, South Africa University of the Free State Wildlife Management Lecturer Dr. Francois Deacon has befriended Ashley Davison, and both worked together to develop a live-action camera to place on a giraffe’s head to help identify key factors for their decline. Fifty percent of the African giraffe population has diminished since 1999. “It’s a short timeframe [Dr. Francois Deacon doing field research in Africa] for that type of decline to occur,” said Deacon. “We are trying to determine ‘why’ in order to influence better decision-making on conservation and management practices. If we don’t learn more about what’s causing their decline, we may lose this magnificent creature from our planet.”​  
From the team behind Nat Geo Wild's "Walking with Giraffes" — lastofthelongnecks.com — "Catching Giants" is a 1x60 documentary by iniosante, inc. filmed in September and October 2017 across the wilderness of untamed South Africa.

Hindsight is 20/20, but in South Africa, this ratio of 20 researchers to 20 giraffes will provide information that will help save giraffes so that future generations will have the knowledge to turn this silent extinction around. The true value of "Catching Giants" lies in the fact that the results of this project and the discoveries of these world-leading biologists can be applied to other giraffe populations throughout Africa and will be invaluable to wildlife managers and conservationists throughout the continent. 

Directed & Produced by Ashley Scott Davison. Written & Produced Catherine Land. A team from Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch traveled to South Africa to be part of this monumental project.

NBWR TEAM TRAVELS TO AFRICA TO HELP CATCH GIANTS   
"With fresh information from Last of the Longnecks being spread throughout the globe, people are becoming more aware of the fact that giraffes are now listed as “Vulnerable to Extinction” on the IUCN’s Red List. The question now circulating is: what is being done to stop the giraffe decline?
Catching Giants is a heart stopping film that will follow the world’s preeminent giraffe researcher, Dr. Francois Deacon, as he embarks on the most ambitious project of his career and perhaps the most ambitious project in giraffe conservation to date. On the rugged and untamed plains of South Africa’s Tswalu Kalahari Private Game Reserve, Dr. Deacon will set out to capture and GPS collar more than 20 giraffes, a project that will enable him to study these giraffes’ every move and behavior over the next two years. Joining him on this wild expedition are 20 researchers from various parts of the world, each with unique scientific backgrounds. The team will gather in what’s been deemed the green Kalahari to focus on one South African giraffe population — addressing scientific questions about giraffe that have yet to be answered. Each biologist, will their own goals and objectives, will provide one piece of the puzzle of information needed to save giraffes from extinction. 
Catching Giants takes viewers on an incredible journey alongside the conservationists, researchers, and animal specialists who are making history on their plight to learn more about giraffes. The film is sure to get audiences’ adrenaline pumping as numerous giraffes are tranquilized and fitted with GPS collars. The true value of Catching Giants lies in the fact that the results of Dr Deacon’s project and the discoveries made by his world leading biologists can be applied by wildlife managers and conservationists to giraffe populations throughout the continent of Africa. For Francois and his family, saving Africa’s giraffes is not just a passion, but their mission." ( http://www.lastofthelongnecks.com/catching-giants/ )

The team at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch is proud to have been a part of this effort.
Giraffe Ambassador Program Connects 
Texas Giraffes with Wild Giraffes ​​​
Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch’s (NBWR) Giraffe Ambassador Program, which began in September 2015, educated 140 visitors on the giraffe’s plight in the wild, giraffe biology and care, and what visitors can do to help giraffes in the wild. Proceeds from the program were donated to Deacon’s research. To learn a species’ endangered status for animals that live on the ranch, NBWR relies on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List on Threatened Species, which is the world’s most comprehensive information source on the global conservation status of animal, fungi and plant species and their links to livelihoods. In December 2016, the IUCN reclassified giraffe from least concern to vulnerable. The reclassification is a significant step in assuring giraffe receive protection.

Researchers know that wild giraffes are dying at a rapid and unusual rate, and NBWR is sounding the alarm, sharing information, and supporting research. “I can’t imagine our planet without giraffes running wild,” said NBWR Animal Specialist Tiffany Soechting.”
 

 Texas Giraffe Day​​​​​
 May 10, 2016, marked the first Texas Giraffe Day, a Texas House of Representatives resolution that Representative Doug Miller initiated in May 2015. The day commemorated the birth of rare twin giraffes born at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch (NBWR) and helped to sound the alarm of giraffes’ plight in the wild. Over half of the wild populations of giraffes have been lost in the last 15 years, and in the last 40 years 400,000 have been lost.