Maasai Giraffe The giraffe is one of the most charismatic and popular animals on Earth. Surprisingly, we actually know very little about their natural history and ecology in the wild. We do, however, know that over the past 30 years, wild giraffe populations have plummeted by 40% due to habitat loss and hunting. We need to study giraffes in the wild in order to know what they need to survive and guide decisions on how to best protect and conserve them. To this end, the Zoo supports research and conservation of the Maasai giraffe in Tanzania carried out by the Wild Nature Institute (WNI). more infoWNI is working to identify areas where giraffes are faring well and where they are struggling, as well as the causes of population decline. Using digital photography and pattern-recognition software, WNI identifies and tracks individual giraffes, enabling them to collect demographic data on hundreds of giraffes. From this data, WNI can look at how factors such as vegetation quality, water availability, predator density and more affect giraffe reproduction and movement. These findings can then be applied in deciding where to focus conservation efforts.