Nairobi, Feb 23 – Three giraffes were electrocuted to death when they came into contact with live power transmission lines in Soysambu Wildlife Conservancy in Kenya’s Great Rift Valley, the conservancy reported.

The animals met their death in two separate incidents in the same area over the past weekend, according to Nigel Hunter, the chairman of the conservancy. Officials from the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and Kenya Power and Lighting Company went to the scene of the electrocution and have since rectified the faulty power line that killed the giraffes, Hunter said in a press release.

“Furthermore, they are inspecting the rest of the line and will continue their work over the coming week to improve any weak links they may identify. Although some work was done on this line to improve its safety in 2019 we will be working closely with both KWS and KP&L to eliminate such incidents in the future,” he added.

Over the past 23 years, Soysambu Conservancy has nurtured a herd of Rothschild’s giraffe with much success so that having started with seven animals the herd now stands at 144, according to Hunter.

“This tragic incident is a very disappointing setback for Soysambu Conservancy as the giraffe are a core element of our conservation efforts and we will continue to prioritize their conservation in the future,” he added.

In November 2018, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) updated the conservation status of seven of nine subspecies of giraffes on the Red List of species threatened by extinction.

Among the seven subspecies, five were assessed for the first time ever. The West African and Rothschild’s giraffe, first assessed in 2008 and 2010 respectively, were “downlisted” from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Vulnerable’ (West African giraffe) and ‘Near Threatened’ (Rothschild’s giraffe) on the latest IUCN Red list update.

This is a result of conservation initiatives undertaken in the countries where these giraffe subspecies occur. Nonetheless, there is still more work to be done. Two giraffe subspecies are now listed as ‘Critically Endangered’ (Kordofan and Nubian giraffe) and the reticulated giraffe is listed as ‘Endangered’. Only the Angolan giraffe was listed as ‘Least Concern’ following a sharp increase in their numbers. The Masai and South African giraffe are yet to be assessed.