Project coordinator


John Doherty is a member of the Ecosystem Biology & Sustainability Research Group in the School of Biological Sciences at Queen's University Belfast. He has degrees from the Universities of Oxford and Pretoria and a postgraduate certificate of education from the University of Bristol. John has worked, studied and travelled extensively in eastern and southern Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Iberian peninsula, Britain, Ireland, Norway and the High Arctic, focusing especially on species conservation, the management of protected areas, wildlife conservation within human-dominated landscapes and environmental education. He made his first study of giraffes at the age of 10 and he first worked in northern Kenya (as a carpenter) in 1978.


Project naturalist


Jacob Leaidura is an experienced observer of northern Kenya's richly diverse flora and fauna and he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of its spectacular birds. He is certified as a naturalist by the Kenya Professional Safari Guides Association and has worked in Samburu, Buffalo Springs and Shaba National Reserves for more than 25 years. Jacob is a keen environmental educator, adept at passing on his enthusiasm for nature to his fellow Kenyans and to visitors to the country alike. As a small child, he was afraid of reticulated giraffes when he came across them in the bush on his long walk to school. Now, he knows hundreds individually and has become an expert on their behaviour and their social interactions. His personal favourite is known as DC10.


Contributor network


The Reticulated Giraffe Project operates through a growing network of contributors based both in Kenya and abroad. Through our partnership with the BOMA Project, we have a team of 28 village mentors and three field officers collecting systematic data on the giraffes that still survive outside protected areas and talking to local communities, on whose consent the giraffes' future depends. Others who make especially valuable contributions to the project's research and conservation work include: Abdullahi Hussein Ali, Lydia Laura Aoko, Abdi Boru, David Brown, Matthew Chase, Cecilia Chea, Kathleen Colson, Teresa Couppleditch, Addy de Jongh, Robert Elwood, Carly Howes, Hansjoerg Kunc, Jacqui Lane, Simon Leirana, Simon Lekulal, Jomba Lemasian, Michael Lesoipa, Fang-Ju Lin, Hans-Georg Michna, Inge Michna, Frédéric Mineur, Ahmed Kura Omar, Julie Post, Jennifer Robertson, Ann-Helén Rønning, Michael Scantlebury and Russell Seymour.


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John Doherty (left) with Jacob Leaidura. Photo: Sam Smith/Reticulated Giraffe Project

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