There’s another one, it’s TWINS!
These words have taken New Braunfels and Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch on a journey of discovery and dedicated protection of Giraffes, which have less population than many species on the threat of extinction list. Giraffe twins happen only 1/8 of 1% of births and the New Braunfels twins were the only set of live birth twins in nearly 100 years.
The birth of the twin giraffes at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch in May 2013 generated international news and invigorated and connected those biologists and animal caretakers with a vested interest in reversing the alarming decline of giraffe in the wild.
New Braunfels filmmaker Ashley Davison videoed the giraffe twins’ first week of life. Inspired by their rareness, he connected with the Giraffe Conservation Organization and researchers working with giraffe to learn more. What he learned was alarming, and since 2013 he has been producing a documentary to provide a glimpse on the reasons why giraffe are dying.
After almost 4 years of researching, planning, filming, and editing, the documentary Last of the Longnecks was invited to Washington, D.C.’s Carnegie Institution of Science where it made its premiere at the Washington, D.C. Environmental Film Festival.
When the world’s ninth recorded set of living giraffe twins were born at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Ashley Davison was asked to go out and film their first moments of life. That was the footage that was seen in news stories all around the world, including Good Morning America, CNN, and FOX News. The amazing interest brought about research that led to the alarming news of the true devastating plight of wild giraffes in Africa, despite the global classification by the renowned International Union for Conservation of Nature as ‘least concern’.
The Washington, D.C. Environmental Film Festival hosted a post presentation panel with Director, Ashley Davison, Producer, Catherine Land, and Animal Specialist of Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch, Tiffany Soechting. The festival also brought Dr. Francois Deacon, from the South Africa University of the Free State, to the U.S. for the second time in his life and even invited him to the stage to join the panel after discussions began. During his first trip to the U.S. in 2015, he spoke at Natural Bridge Wildlife Ranch to a group of giraffe caretakers.
Overall, the film was well-received by a crowded theater and attendees brought forth very insightful questions to the panel. From these efforts Ashley Davison and Tiffany Soechting have started a Giraffe Ambassador Program and www.SavetheGiraffes.com.
The mission of their program is “to guarantee that giraffes are protected and preserved in their natural habitat” and the vision is “to support conservation research and education programs that strive to ensure the survival of giraffes and their ecosystems for future generations.”
Click here to view the film’s trailer.
Click here to visit Natural Geographic’s information on the film.
Click here to learn more about the next documentary, Catching Giants, following the efforts to collar 20 giraffes for research and data collection.