Rescuing a giraffe from a poacher's snare is not easy. They are large, majestic creatures who have been known to kill lions with a good kick.
That hasn't stopped Uganda's wildlife conservation societies from rescuing giraffes that get caught in poacher traps. For them, as for many conservation organisations in East Africa, the battle against poaching is never ending.
When large animals become ensnared, conservationists have to sedate the creature to approach it and set it free. Giraffes are tall, so when they're hit with the sedative, they fall hard - and the conservationists need to act quickly. Wounds from traps can become infected, so they treat the scars and move away. As the sedatives wear off and the giraffe gets up, bruised but alive.Though these rescue missions take a lot of work, they're necessary. Survival is not looking good for giraffes and many scientists say they're on track to becoming extinct. In the last 15 years, giraffe populations have decreased by 40 percent. This leaves only 80,000 giraffes in the wild compared to more than 400,000 elephants.
According to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF), very little effort has been put into saving giraffes, though funds often go towards lion and elephant conservation.
“This trend is alarming and we have to act now to turn this situation around while it is still possible,” Julian Fennessy of GCF told the Independent.
Major threats to these large animals include habitat loss and hunting for their meat. Though giraffe's are considered of 'Least Concern' on the International Union for Conservation of Nature, their classification will be reassessed in the new year.
Watch a team in Uganda save a giraffe: