This is Mr. Kidepo, one of the oldest bulls in Uganda’s Kidepo Valley National Park. In many ways, his life story reflects the history of giraffe in the park. Kidepo National Park once supported one of the largest giraffe populations in the country, but by the early 1990s, years of civil unrest and illegal hunting had reduced the population to only three individuals. Through careful management and strategic conservation translocations, the number of giraffe has continued to increase and now exceeds 70 individuals. We identified Mr. Kidepo during our first photographic survey in 2015. At that time he was noted to have a spectacular wound on his right hind leg, possibly caused by a poacher's bullet. This wound is so large that oxpeckers would often perch inside the grapefruit-sized depression. Although veterinary intervention was initially proposed, the potential risks associated with immobilization outweighed the potential benefits of treatments. Over the years, this decision was validated, as Mr. Kidepo continues to be one of the dominant bulls of the Narus Valley. Like the giraffe population in Kidepo Valley National park, Mr Kidepo has shown amazing resilience during difficult times and with increased conservation efforts now faces a much brighter future.
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