Giraffes brought to India 150 years ago from Africa may be a critically endangered species

Source: The post is based on the articleGiraffes brought to India 150 years ago from Africa may be a critically endangered speciespublished in The Hindu on 19th October 2022.

What is the News?

According to a study, the Giraffes brought to India by Britishers may be a critically endangered species.

About the study

About 150 years ago, British colonialists brought batches of what they thought were a single species of the northern giraffe to India from their other colonial possessions in Africa. 

These now comprise a captive population of 29 individuals of northern giraffes across the country.

A study was recently conducted on these giraffes at Alipore Zoological Garden in Kolkata. The researchers confirmed that the giraffes in this facility are most likely “critically endangered” Nubian giraffes (Giraffa camelopardalis camelopardalis) or the endangered Rothschild giraffe ( Giraffa camelopardalis rothschildi).

What is the significance of this study?

There are different giraffes in captivity in Mysuru, Chennai, Patna, Guwahati and Hyderabad.

As both the Nubian and Rothschild giraffes are listed as ‘critically endangered’ and ‘endangered’ by the IUCN respectively. 

Hence, it is important that the Central Zoo Authority conducts further studies of the giraffes in captivity so that the species are not interbred with each other and the giraffes’ germplasm is preserved.

Note: There is little to no information on where the giraffes brought to India from Africa had been captured, so the only way to identify the species would be through a mitochondrial gene study.

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